A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism (Bilingual by Colin Baker

By Colin Baker

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Additional info for A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism (Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, No 5)

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The 'bottom line' question is whether there are circumstances where bilingual development is nearly impossible? The answer is that bilingualism is possible in many different situations, if thought and care, pleasure and purpose are injected. It requires motivation and a positive attitude from parents, often considerable perseverance to achieve a distant goal, and a willingness not to expect too much too soon. Children's bilingual skills constantly change. They become stronger in one language or the other, as geographical and socioeconomic movement of families, changes in friends and school, and relationships within families all develop.

When there is disagreement, consider language as just one part of a child's whole development. Discussion about bilingualism in the child is < previous page page_18 next page > < previous page page_19 next page > Page 19 not just about two languages. It's about personality, potential and the pleasure of a secure and stimulating period of childhood. Bilingualism in the child cannot be considered in total isolation. Bilingualism is one major part of the jigsaw of the child's total development. The fit of the bilingualism part of the jigsaw into the total picture of the child's development requires dialogue between parents.

A less likely and a more difficult option, but not an impossible one, is for the parent to use two languages on different occasions. If the parent uses two languages during the day to the same child, the problem is separation within the child of those two languages. Some mixing of languages is likely, with an immediate and short-term problem of separation. If a single parent feels it important to use two languages with the child, then there need to be clear boundaries of separation between the two languages.

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