A few weeks ago I sat down with Donna Bardsley at Amsterdam Mamas, to record a podcast on bilingualism and bilingual education. The topics ranged from my own experience raising three kids with three languages, to the more complex, and compelling, issue of how language status affects children who are becoming bilingual. I've written about … Continue reading Privilege and Paradox in Bilingual Education
When I was in Hong Kong last week and meeting with parents and teachers, the subject of discussion was often the issues raised in my previous blog post about HK parents choosing to speak English with their children rather than Cantonese. Inevitably, someone would ask how we can change this pattern of choosing the higher-status … Continue reading Promoting home language use: How do we make a difference?
Waking up to a beautiful morning in Hong Kong! This is a post that I wrote several months ago, and I am reposting it because I am once again in Hong Kong (Clearwater Bay School, the International Montessori School and LanguageOne HK) and I know this question will be an important one for many parents … Continue reading Please, speak Cantonese to your children!
A different language is a different vision of life. Federico Fellini The vast majority of families I have worked with over the years have been in agreement about the decision to raise their children as bilingual/multilingual. Usually they come to me for family language planning advice because they want to "get it right" and ensure … Continue reading When Family Languages are in Conflict
Obviously this applies to Cantonese-speaking parents... 🙂 but the underlying principle is the same, no matter what your home language is. I've been thinking about this issue since I visited Hong Kong in March, and met with many lovely parents who were all attempting to raise their children to be bilingual. So what's wrong with … Continue reading Please, speak Cantonese to your children!
Aboriginal people have a right to language. Unless we do something in this generation the languages will die in the next generation -- the generation of my daughter. -- Lorena Fontaine, PhD student at the University of Manitoba As a Canadian living abroad, I tend to focus on all the good things about our history and have an admittedly Pollyanna … Continue reading Learning from the past?
This is a fantastic article about the two-sided nature of the bilingualism debate. "Desirable bilingualism" involves children who speak the host-country language and another, high-status language. These bilinguals are considered "lucky" to have two languages. On the other side, immigrants and refugee children who speak a lower-status language and are learning the host-country language are … Continue reading Why is bilingual education ‘good’ for rich kids but ‘bad’ for poor, immigrant students? – The Washington Post
My kids were watching TV the other, and they were watching in French. That is, they were watching a TV station from France, but the show was made in Quebec. So it had subtitles, so the French kids could understand the "non-standard French". Really? French kids can't understand Canadian French (Quebecois)? Strange, because my … Continue reading Two languages or two dialects?
One of the unfortunate realities of bilingualism is that success or failure is often determined by language status. Yes, it's true, languages have "status". Some languages are high status, some are low status, some are in the middle. It's not an unchangeable rating - it depends on where you are and what other languages are … Continue reading Language Status: How cool is your language?