This presentation aims for participants to understand the big picture of bilingualism, at different levels and connected to different types of language acquisition. Benefits seen and unseen, or not yet heard, accrue to every extent that people become bilingual. There are many factors that affect bilingual development, such as starting age, and many bilingual child-raising approaches that ultimately work. The social environment can cause difficulties, but bilingualism in actuality – languages in contact, within and between people – has no drawbacks and is basically constructive. As one result, bicultural young people who can use more than one language are becoming increasing prominent in Japanese society. The needs of the individual, family, schools, and society are all aligned with bilingual development. Many manifestations of bilingualism in Japan will be examined and contextualized in a taxonomy. Questions and comments from participants are welcome at any time.
Steve McCarty was a full professor for 22 years, now lecturing for Osaka Jogakuin University, Kyoto Bunkyo University, Kansai University, and the government agency JICA. He was a JALT Bilingualism SIG founding member and President for several years. He has used Japanese since graduate school, and his two sons went through the Japanese educational system. He has taught university classes on bilingualism, bilingual education, and language acquisition. He has published many articles on bilingualism such as “Bilingual Child-Raising Possibilities in Japan” (Tokyo: Child Research Net, 2010, also available in Japanese). Conference presentations include “How Bilingualism informs Language Teaching” (JALT 2012) and “Bilingualism for Language Teachers and Parents in Japan” (Back to School 2013). Publications are available online at the Bilingualism and Japanology Intersection: http://www.waoe.org/steve/epublist.html