What is bilingualism

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Can bilingualism cause problems for children? Which language should parents speak? Should parents avoid mixing languages? This slideshare accompanies a RALLI film by Dr Vicky Murphy providing some basic information about bilingualism based on the research evidence. http://youtu.be/p9iWG0M5z40
For an index of the RALLI films and slides see: http://ralliindex.blogspot.co.uk

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What is bilingualism

  1. 1. 1 What is bilingualism? Introduction to bilingualism: Dispelling the myths A slide show to accompany the RALLI campaign film: Introduction to bilingualism: Dispelling the myths
  2. 2. What is bilingualism? • A person speaks two languages regardless of their level ability in either • Multilingualism: speaking more than 2 languages (Sometimes people also use term ‘bilingual’ when a person has more than two languages) • There are more bilingual people in the world than those who only speak one language (monolingual)
  3. 3. Routes to bilingualism • Simultaneous = develop two languages from birth • Sequential: exposed to one language from birth, introduced to second language at a later time, both languages are relevant in the child’s environment • Also referred to as Additional Language Learning, includes English as Additional Language (EAL) in UK
  4. 4. Can bilingualism cause problems? • Not a disorder and does not cause SLI or other communication problems • Social advantages to being bilingual • Research looking into possibility of other cognitive advantages • Paradis, J., Genesee, F. & Crago, M. (2011). Dual language development and disorders: A handbook on bilingualism and second language learning. 2 nd edition. Brookes Publishing. • Kovács, A.M. (2009). Early bilingualism enhances mechanisms of false-belief reasoning. Developmental Science, 12(1), 48-54 • Gathercole, V.C.M., Thomas, E.M, Jones, L., Guasch, N.V, Young, N. & Hughes, E.K. (2010). Cognitive effects of bilingualism: Digging deeper for the contributions of language dominance, linguistic knowledge, socio-economic status and cognitive abilities. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 13(5), 617-664.
  5. 5. Is coping with two languages difficult? • Does not place an extra load on a child’s thinking and development • Does not cause slow language development • Genesee, F., Boivin, I. & Nicoladis, E. (1996). Talking with strangers: A study of bilingual children’s communicative competence. Applied Psycholinguistics, 17, 427-442. • Genesee, F., Nicoladis, E. & Paradis, J. (1995). Language differentiation in early bilingual development. Journal of Child Language, 22(3), 611-631 • Paradis, J., Genesee, F. & Crago, M. (2011). Dual language development and disorders: A handbook on bilingualism and second language learning. 2 nd edition. Brookes Publishing.
  6. 6. Which language should parents speak? • Research indicates parents should use the language they are most competent in speaking, though different circumstances exist; need case by case consideration • Learning concepts and words in one language can make it easier to pick up the words for these concepts in another language • Important for children to be able to communicate with families and wider community
  7. 7. What if parents speak different languages? • Some professionals suggest strict rules for who speaks different languages and in which specific situations. • However • It can be a challenge for parents to stick to these strict rules • There is no evidence that children get confused when parents switch between languages • The idea of sticking to specific language at specific time, appears to have come from research methods, where researchers wanted to calculate amount of exposure to each language and asked parents to follow strict rules. • Paradis, J., Nicoladis, E. & Genesee, F. (2000). Early emergence of structural constraints on code- mixing: Evidence from French-English bilingual children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 3(3), 245-262.
  8. 8. What if parents speak different languages? • Parents may wish to consider amount of exposure to a language if they wish for a child to speak more than one language • Provide lots of opportunities to hear the language • Provide opportunities and reasons to speak the language
  9. 9. 9 Further references • Lanza, E. (1992) Can bilingual two-year-olds code-switch? Journal of Child Language. 19, (3) 633- 658 • Roseberry-McKibbin C. and Brice, A. (2005). Acquiring English as a second language: what's "normal", what's not. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/easl.htm • Paradis, J., Genesee, F. & Crago, M. (2011). Dual language development and disorders: A handbook on bilingualism and second language learning. 2 nd edition. Brookes Publishing. • Saenz, T.I. and Huer, M.B. (2003) Testing strategies involving least biased language assessment of bilingual children. Communication Disorders Quarterly. 24 (4) 184-193
  10. 10. 10 RALLI www.YouTube.com/rallicampaign N.B. RALLI logos only to be used on RALLI materials as authorised by RALLI members above

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