Multilingual parenting (Re: VALA Conference in Melbourne)
- 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
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 - ?)
--- In Multilingual_Literacy@yahoogroups.com, "Irma Lachmund"
> Here is the website address of the conference:[ . . . ]
> 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