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Multilingual parenting (Re: VALA Conference in Melbourne)

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  • Don Osborn
    Thanks Irma, this is helpful. Noting your mention of the multilingual parent network - nice site and list of links, BTW - I d offer a couple of other links and
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 19, 2004
      Thanks Irma, this is helpful.

      Noting your mention of the multilingual parent network - nice site
      and list of links, BTW - I'd offer a couple of other links and an
      observation. The links are:
      * Multilingual Munchkins: http://www.multilingualmunchkins.com (funny
      name but a nice site; also has an associated e-mail list)
      * Enfants Bilingues: http://www.enfantsbilingues.com (it too has a
      mailing list, in French)

      The observation, which is not terribly insightful but still does not
      seem to be remarked that often, is that such bilingual/multilingual
      parental support groups, and various popular literature and sites on
      how best to raise children speaking more than one language are
      addressed mainly at parents and families whose language situation
      puts them in a small minority in mainly monolingual societies. What
      seems to be lacking, and there are several reasons for this, are
      analagous groups and materials for multilingual families in
      multilingual societies.

      That may sound funny, but I have the impression (mainly from
      observation in West Africa and information from other regions) that
      in parts of the world where traditionally kids would pick up multiple
      languages, a combination of social change, lack of systematic
      teaching in families, and sometimes even notions that monolingual
      upbringing will give children better life chances mean that some
      children don't get to learn much of one or more languages of
      heritage. One can't do much about the first factor, but the other two
      (knowledge of methods for optimal multi/bilingual learning, and
      before that even, awareness about what current research tells us
      about bilingualism and learning) would seem to be areas where
      parental education can make a difference.

      Obviously formal education policy wrt language(s) also has a key
      role, but that's another (related) issue I won't go into here.

      It would be great to see some multilingual parenting materials
      adapted for socio-cultural milieux of multilingual regions, perhaps
      directed especially at educated urban parents. Like anywhere with any
      didactic material, not everyone would necessarily respond to it, but
      my impression is that a lot would. As it stands, though, there is not
      the opportunity. (Or perhaps I'm mistaken - ?)

      Don Osborn

      --- In Multilingual_Literacy@yahoogroups.com, "Irma Lachmund"
      <irmalachmund@y...> wrote:
      > Here is the website address of the conference:
      > http://www.vala.org.au/conf2004.htm
      > Thank you for sharing this with us, Helen. This was all new for me,
      > though Openroad has been around since 2001, I believe.
      > Have a look at our multilingual parent network in Perth.
      > Bilingual Families Perth www.geocities.com/bilingualfamilies
      > Kind regards
      > Irma
      [ . . . ]
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