Mirror of Language: The Debate on Bilingualism

Mirror of Language: The Debate on Bilingualism

Mirror of Language: The Debate on Bilingualism

Mirror of Language: The Debate on Bilingualism

Synopsis

"A leading Yale psycholinguist separates myth from fact in the first comprehensive account of the psychological, linguistic, educational, and social aspects of bilingualism."

Excerpt

I WROTE THIS BOOK for two reasons. First, I was moved by the sheer accumulation of inquiries I have had about bilingualism. Parents, students, professionals, politicians, and people who are simply curious about language have asked me for information that was at once scientifically nontechnical and intellectually sophisticated.

Many parents want to know if it is wise to raise their children with more than one language--a choice that arises when the parents use more than one language at home, when a daytime babysitter uses another language, or when the family goes abroad for an extended stay. Many professionals, such as teachers and policy makers, have to make decisions about educating children who have grown up using a different language at home. Should the home language be used in instruction at all? Should it be maintained even after the child successfully masters the language used in school? How should proficiency in the two languages be defined and evaluated? In our cosmopolitan world, such questions are being asked with increasing frequency, particularly as American public interest in foreign languages is rekindled by concern over the dangers of monolingualism in causing cultural and economic isolation and in crippling national intelligence and security (Simon 1980). Professionals want a basic grasp of the concepts of bilingualism to aid them in formulating the best curriculum for particular . . .

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