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Fwd: "Growing Up with Two Languages"

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  • Don Osborn
    FYI, a guide for parents bringing their children up bilingually. Not sure to what extent development of reading skills in the two languages are mentioned.
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 9, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      FYI, a guide for parents bringing their children up bilingually. Not
      sure to what extent development of reading skills in the two
      languages are mentioned. (Reposted from Linguist list)... DZO


      Date: 15-Sep-2004
      From: Kaiulani Kaneta <kkaneta@...>
      Subject: Growing Up with Two Languages: Cunningham-Andersson,
      Andersson

      Title: Growing Up with Two Languages
      Subtitle: A Practical Guide
      Publication Year: 2004
      Publisher: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
      http://www.routledge.com/

      Author: Una Cunningham-Andersson
      Author: Staffan Andersson

      Hardback: ISBN: 0415333318 Pages: 192 Price: U.S. $ 90.00
      Paperback: ISBN: 0415333326 Pages: 192 Price: U.S. $ 22.95


      Abstract:

      The lives of many families involve contact with more than one
      language and culture on a daily basis. These children can potentially
      become proficient in both the languages around them, provided they
      receive enough input in both languages. Growing up with Two Languages
      is aimed at the many parents and professionals who feel uncertain
      about the best way to go about helping children to gain maximum
      benefit from the situation.

      Every family's situation is different, but there is a good deal that
      parents can do to make life with two languages easier for their
      children. Families often establish an informal system for deciding
      who speaks what language in which situation. Consistency in sticking
      to the system will be helpful to the child, especially at the
      beginning. The "one person-one language" system, where each person
      speaks one of the languages (usually his/her native language) to the
      child and the "minority language at home" system, where the entire
      family speaks the language which is not spoken in the community at
      home are two of the most common systems.

      There are, however, as many variations on these systems as there are
      families. There is no right or wrong way - here each family has to
      find its own system. Growing up with Two Languages is illustrated by
      glimpses of life from interviews with fifty families from all around
      the world. The trials and rewards of life with two languages and
      cultures are discussed in detail, and followed by practical advice on
      how to support the child's linguistic development.


      Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

      Written In: English (Language Code: ENG)

      See this book announcement on our website:
      http://linguistlist.org/get-book.html?BookID=11472
    • Don Osborn
      FYI, a review of this title for which the announcenent was posted as message #153. According to the reviewer, the section on literacy & reading (in Ch. 6) is
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 10, 2006
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        FYI, a review of this title for which the announcenent was posted as
        message #153. According to the reviewer, the section on literacy &
        reading (in Ch. 6) is "one of the most comprehensive and useful parts"
        of the book. (Fwd from Linguist list)... DZO


        Date: 14-Jul-2005
        From: Magdalena Fialkowska <fialka@...>
        Subject: Growing Up with Two Languages: A Practical Guide

        AUTHORS: Cunningham-Andersson, Una; Andersson, Staffan
        TITLE: Growing Up with Two Languages
        SUBTITLE: A Practical Guide
        PUBLISHER: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
        YEAR: 2004
        Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/15/15-2703.html

        Magdalena Anna Fialkowska, School of English,
        Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

        OVERVIEW

        The book aims to serve as a practical guide for parents whose everyday
        life involves using two or more languages. The authors attempt to
        describe how families are affected by living with two languages and
        cultures and how these aspects are related to each other in a
        bicultural and bilingual environment. Many issues are discussed
        "cross-methodologically", i.e. are based on opinions provided by
        informants living in various linguistic arrangements. Throughout the
        book the authors convince the readers that a bilingual home is not a
        privilege of exogamic couples and, and even though it may involve
        issues unknown to a monolingual home it is less complicated that one
        may think. The book presents data from 150 individuals and families.
        It provides new and updated Internet resources, gives information on
        the problems faced by teenagers and their possible solutions, reports
        on new research into language acquisition, and offers first-hand
        advice and examples.

        SYNOPSIS

        The book consists of nine chapters, four appendices, a glossary, a
        bibliography, and a term index.

        CHAPTER 1: Families with two languages
        The first section discusses the origins of family bilingualism. The
        authors show how reasons for moving from one country to another are
        influenced by people's diverse expectations and motivations. In the
        second section language choice, language mixing, language switching,
        and communication are discussed. The language that parents decide to
        use at the beginning will influence the future system of communication
        in the family. The last section focuses on the minority language
        families, i.e. immigrants, refugees, international employees, and
        visiting academics who move to another country. These families are in
        a better position since, if necessary, they can close their door to
        the majority culture in order to feel "safe" at home using the
        minority language. The authors make it clear, however, that these
        families are not free from problems.

        CHAPTER 2: Expecting a child in a bilingual home
        In this chapter the most important question is: "What do you want for
        your child?" People's reasons for raising children bilingually vary
        depending on plans, e.g., if the family intends to stay in the
        majority language country, or not. The first section stresses that a
        child should be able to become a part of the minority language
        community if there is one in the area, and whatever the situation, it
        should be vital for the parents to ensure that their children should
        not only be able to communicate with their minority language
        relatives, but also be aware of the cultural background of the
        minority language parent. Parents are also advised to speak their
        native languages to the child. The second section of the chapter
        focuses on planning, e.g., who is going to speak which language to the
        child, and in what way any unusual conditions, e.g., child's
        disability or a sudden need to move away, may influence this system.
        The problem of giving names to children is also introduced here and
        several solutions are suggested. The last section draws parents'
        attention to issues such as children's willingness or unwillingness to
        be exposed to public attention by speaking the minority language to
        them, negative opinions about the minority language, reactions from
        minority language grandparents, and others.

        CHAPTER 3. The family language system
        Chapter three attempts to distinguish between three types of systems:
        One-Parent-One-Language method, One-Parent-One-Location strategy, and
        several types of "artificial" bilingualism, such as placing children
        in an international school or employing a foreign au-pair. Each
        strategy is discussed separately. The authors explain that any system
        will work if it answers the needs of the family members and is
        flexible enough to be changed if necessary. It is underlined, however,
        that no system is allowed to interfere with the siblings' choice of
        language to communicate. Many aspects, e.g., the child's unbalanced
        input in the OPOL method or being strict about the system established
        at home, are supported by the informants' opinions.

        CHAPTER 4. Language development
        Chapter four briefly describes the moment when a child recognizes
        speech and starts producing sounds. The importance of an equal input
        in both languages is stressed and advice is given on how to correct a
        child who mixes newly acquired words when addressing the parents
        without disappointing the child. The question taken up is why it is
        essential for the minority language parents not to avoid using their
        native language unless it is necessary. These parents often do so in
        public so as not to expose their child to public attention, or switch
        to the majority language when talking to their offspring in front of
        monolingual children so as not to let them feel left out. Because of
        these practices, such parents often become hesitant speakers unable to
        cope with discussions with their teenage children, whose knowledge of
        the minority language soon becomes passive. Interference and mixing is
        the focus of the second section, which convinces us that "what is true
        for one child may not be for other" (p. 55), and, consequently, with
        two or three children parents may witness very different ways of
        linguistic development. There is no need to worry, though, if the
        interference and mixing phase gets sorted out with time in the case of
        one child and in the case of the other some encouragement is necessary
        to make the child use appropriate words. The chapter ends with a brief
        overview of the critical period hypothesis.

        CHAPTER 5: The child with two languages
        This chapter focuses on schooling as well as the pros and cons of
        bilingual upbringing. During early childhood, any attempts to analyse
        the stream of sounds made by a child are hindered by the existence of
        two languages, while the amount of words that the child has to learn
        is doubled. For older children being different from the peers turns
        out to be a problem and a question arises as to what can be done to
        make children feel proud of their atypical childhood. The advantages
        of growing up in two languages include having access to the rich world
        of language and literature, and the ability to communicate with one's
        relatives with ease. Also, if necessary, passive knowledge of the
        minority language can easily be activated. In the second section, the
        authors consider it vital that children learn their two languages at
        their own pace, and stress that literacy in both languages is the only
        way to help children discover the true value of being bilingual.

        CHAPTER 6: Practical parenting in a bilingual home
        Chapter six opens with a list of instructions helping children make
        the most of the bilingual situation around them. Home language
        education and Saturday schools are suggested, and additional ways of
        enhancing children's exposure to the minority language are listed,
        e.g. networking (i.e. meeting monolingual minority language speakers),
        mini-immersion (when a child attends school in the minority language
        country for a few days), trips, TV, books, and others. The second part
        gives some ideas how to obtain materials in the minority language and
        concentrates on what should be done at home to help a child become
        fluent in the minority language. These involve: talking to a child
        about things a parent is/was/will be doing, listening to the child
        with gentle corrections of his/her speech, keeping track of the
        child's development in order to compare its stages, reading to and
        with the child.

        CHAPTER 7: Competence in two cultures
        Chapter seven is concerned with raising children in two cultures. In
        the first part the authors present two groups of parents having
        contrasting views on bicultural upbringing. Yet, the authors stress
        that regardless of whether the parents want their children to be
        bicultural or not, every family must make a firm decision which must
        be made active. It is also explained that "while parents alone can
        give children a second language, they will not be able to give them a
        second culture without the help of others and the support of the
        society" (p. 88). The difference between helping children "feel at
        home" in the two cultures and merely showing them how to "be polite"
        in both of them must be remembered. The second section deals with
        religion and briefly explains why religion and culture are intimately
        associated with each other. The last section focuses on traditions,
        hospitality, and social behaviour with its consequences. This section
        stresses the assets which are offered by the intercultural upbringing
        not only to young people - by showing them how the same aspects may be
        viewed differently - but also to adults who can see their own culture
        through new eyes.

        CHAPTER 8. Problems you may encounter
        This chapter analyses several problematic areas. The first is
        concerned with the parents' linguistic competence and the quality of
        input that a child receives. Parents are advised to use their native
        language, since the use of other language than their own may result in
        the child's acquiring non-native features in their speech. Minority
        language parents are advised to support their language so as not to
        let it become old-fashioned. These parents may try one of the methods
        recommended in the subsection on language attrition. The second issue
        deals with semilingualism, defined as a lack of native-speaker
        competence in either of the speaker's languages. The notion of
        semilingualism is applied to children who have a limited exposure to
        the minority language. The chapter ends with two sections devoted to
        such problems as divorce, death of a parent, moving away, or bringing
        up a child with disabilities.

        CHAPTER 9. The way ahead
        In the last chapter such aspects as motivation, identity, self-image,
        encouragement for teenagers and improving language proficiency are
        discussed. It is emphasized that motivation will fluctuate and that
        parents' motivation strongly influences the children's willingness to
        speak the minority language. This is why working with children
        systematically is extremely important, and, at the same time, very
        difficult. Children often feel disappointed that they are not
        indistinguishable from their monolingual peers, and parent's
        encouragement may be of help to them. As regards identity, teenagers
        are the most sensitive group and convincing them that a visit to the
        minority language country can fill most gaps left in the minority
        language may ease most of their doubts. However, the book rightly
        points out that the parents' main aim should be to ensure that their
        children feel at home in the majority language country, while it is
        secondary to help them feel at home in the minority language country.
        Improving one's linguistic proficiency is also discussed.

        APPENDICES
        Appendix A: Organising a workshop on raising children This appendix
        may function as a guide for parents, teachers, and others interested
        in the mutual exchange of experience and tips concerning raising
        children in two languages. It provides readers with a sample of a
        programme for a two-hour high-level workshop, and helps them prepare a
        similar meeting in their own communities giving them a list of issues
        to be considered.

        Appendix B: Ways to support a child's development in two languages
        This appendix discusses three types of meetings supporting children's
        bilingual development. The goal of The Parent and Child Group is to
        make families with the same minority language meet and exchange
        opinions. The Minority Language Play School is a place where children
        are left with teachers or leaders. Smaller children may need a
        settling-period, thus is it better suited for pre-school and school
        children. Finally, Saturday School is a good idea for children of all
        ages, but as this type of meeting needs extra motivation, children are
        rarely willing to sacrifice another morning at school. All these ways
        of supporting children's bilingualism require good teachers,
        materials, location, and funds.

        Appendix C: Documenting a child's linguistic development The third
        appendix is a set of three photocopiable sheets for parents to keep
        track of their children's linguistic development: Vocabulary
        Development sheet consists of four columns ("Object", "Language 1",
        "Language 2" and "Comments"), Mean Length of Utterance and Language
        Mixing sheet (one column for "Sentence", one to count words and one to
        count mixing) and the Pronunciation sheet (one column for words and
        the other to explain problems a child has with pronouncing them).

        Appendix D: Internet resources
        The last appendix enumerates Internet addresses grouped into three
        categories: Web links, Meeting places and Locating material. They are
        a helpful starting point providing links to many resources, including
        discussion panels, mailing lists, online communities, Internet
        bookshops and others.

        CRITICAL EVALUATION

        What made the book especially intriguing to me was the authors
        themselves: brought up in Northern Ireland, Cunningham-Andersson
        studied Spanish, French and Irish as a foreign language learner, was a
        second language learner living in Spain for a year, and first came
        into contact with Swedish at the age of 20, while Andersson uses a
        language which he has not fully mastered to communicate with his wife.
        Their book covers a wide spectrum of aspects concerned with not only
        raising children to be bilingual, but also their future, their
        relations with friends and family, the parents' linguistic situation
        and development, and many others. All these aspects are supported by
        creative ideas and opinions provided by informants coming from various
        corners of the world and speaking different languages, e.g., English,
        Japanese, Spanish, Hebrew, Swedish, Taiwanese, Portuguese, Slovak,
        German, Chinese, French, and others. Much attention is paid to aspects
        omitted in other books, such as close and distant plans, death of a
        parent, sharing religious plans for children or feelings of other
        "parties" involved, e.g., grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles,
        friends, peers etc. The authors do not claim that their methods are
        ideal, but show both strong and weak sides of many choices, which
        makes most of their advice easily applicable, helpful and practical.

        The section about literacy is worth mentioning as one of the most
        comprehensive and useful parts (Chapter 6), stressing the importance
        of reading to and with children (especially those raised bilingually)
        before and after they learn how to read. Mostly, I appreciated the
        authors' optimistic approach towards unforeseen turns in life which
        force parents to change or give up their plans for a bilingual family.
        I was also happy to find a comprehensive overview of problems and
        rewards of introducing two cultures, as well as many social and
        individual challenges resulting from living "in two cultures". It was
        also intriguing for me to observe how reading about other parents'
        experience helps me understand the authors' explanations. One of the
        greatest advantages of the book are the appendices which I found to be
        an invaluable source of information and ideas showing that a workshop
        can be more than just a meeting for the parents.

        As to the drawbacks, first I would like to point to the confusion in
        the use of the term "bilingual". In the preface, the authors explain
        that their avoidance of the term "bilingual" results from the
        difficulty in providing the criteria to measure one's bilingualism (p.
        xii). Later in the book, they do not provide any comments when quoting
        parents using this term with reference to the children's abilities. I
        find this situation perplexing, as it seems clear that informants use
        the term "bilingual" to describe their children's ability to
        communicate in both languages, not necessarily being balanced in both
        of them. Since positing a generally accepted definition appears to be
        so difficult, why to abandon the term so soon? And why do it at all?

        I feel a similar ambivalence towards certain limits that the book
        places on itself. Firstly, the authors mostly refer to groups,
        organizations, and families in Sweden, i.e. their own home country.
        Secondly, some advise might be given from a family in which children
        have to learn an alphabetic as well as a non-alphabetic writing
        system, e.g., an English-Japanese family.

        CHAPTER 2:
        The section "Making plans" (p. 18) seems to deal with similar aspects
        as the previous section ("What do you want for your child" (p. 12)),
        i.e. planning and choosing what is best for the child. They might have
        been included under one heading.

        CHAPTER 3:
        Naming one of the sections "'Artificial' bilingualism" (p. 41) seems
        contradictory and unfair to me. The authors avoid the term since
        defining a bilingual without going into details is too complicated.
        They claim that it is almost impossible to be truly bilingual unless
        one receives the same amount of input of the two languages, which in
        reality is a very difficult task. Thus, trying to raise a child to be
        bilingual (which is already doubtful) with the use of "artificial"
        methods seems to be even more impossible. In addition, why should we
        call it "artificial" at all, if a family wants to change the place of
        residence for some time to help their children pick up a foreign
        language?

        CHAPTER 8
        The authors advise parents bringing along a pre-school helper to the
        country they are going to move to in order to maintain the children's
        skills in the minority language. Since such a scheme is very costly,
        it may, however, not be available to many bilingual families. In the
        subsection "Death of a parent" (p. 113) the authors claim that if it
        is the minority language parent who dies, the children's competence in
        this language is seriously jeopardized. I believe that if the majority
        language parent dies, children's linguistic and psychological
        development is equally endangered. There are families where minority
        language parents do not learn the majority language and in such cases
        these parents' competence in the majority language may be too low to
        communicate with children immediately after the death of the majority
        language parent. Although there is still the minority language to use,
        it is often the children's weaker language, and talking, e.g., about
        school may be difficult for the first few months.

        APPENDICES
        My only criticism here applies to Appendix D. Some of the pages are
        old (e.g., Bilingual Families Web Page was last updated in 1998),
        while some URLS are not valid (e.g., Bilingual Families Web Page >
        Resources > Nordic Languages > Barnesiden). In addition, there occurs
        some permanent error when one tries to subscribe to the mailing list
        under Biling-Fam Internet mailing list.

        The book is generally nicely edited with very few spelling errors.

        CONCLUSION

        Overall, this book is aimed for all parents who would like to give
        their children a chance to grow up in two languages. It may be
        valuable not only for families where parents have different native
        languages, but also for any family where children are taught a
        minority language, be it in the kindergarten, from an au-pair or at
        school. Problems to consider are often similar in there families, and
        this book collects them all in one place. This book may also appear
        useful for teachers working with children brought up in mixed
        families, as it helps them learn what kind of problems such children
        deal with and how to help them.

        ABOUT THE REVIEWER

        Magdalena Fialkowska is currently a PhD student at the English
        Department at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, but in two
        months she will transfer her PhD to the University of Surrey,
        Guildford, England. She will spend three years in the Department of
        Linguistic, Cultural and Translational Studies working on her PhD,
        which is going to be focused on the acquisition of morphology by
        Polish-English bilingual children.


        --- In Multilingual_Literacy@yahoogroups.com, "Don Osborn" <dzo@...>
        wrote:
        >
        >
        > FYI, a guide for parents bringing their children up bilingually. Not
        > sure to what extent development of reading skills in the two
        > languages are mentioned. (Reposted from Linguist list)... DZO
        >
        >
        > Date: 15-Sep-2004
        > From: Kaiulani Kaneta <kkaneta@...>
        > Subject: Growing Up with Two Languages: Cunningham-Andersson,
        > Andersson
        >
        > Title: Growing Up with Two Languages
        > Subtitle: A Practical Guide
        > Publication Year: 2004
        > Publisher: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
        > http://www.routledge.com/
        >
        > Author: Una Cunningham-Andersson
        > Author: Staffan Andersson
        >
        > Hardback: ISBN: 0415333318 Pages: 192 Price: U.S. $ 90.00
        > Paperback: ISBN: 0415333326 Pages: 192 Price: U.S. $ 22.95
        >
        >
        ...
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