Advertisement

Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 443–446 | Cite as

Families Learn Together: Reconceptualizing Linguistic Diversity as a Resource

  • Mariana Souto-ManningEmail author
Article

While a growing number of diverse children are entering U.S. schools, misconceptions remain regarding language acquisition. Analysis of weekly interactions in an urban children’s playgroup in the South reveals how the concept of language diversity as a deficit is still widespread. Mothers of young children still believed that efforts to learn multiple languages diminish a child’s ability to learn other things. Conversely, research points to multilingualism as a resource rather than a deficit. Findings indicate that interactions among mothers and children, mediated by the researcher, combined with observations of one child’s bilingual development allowed mothers and young children to rethink their beliefs regarding linguistic diversity. They began recognizing that bilingualism/multilingualism adds to the lives of all children.

Keywords

families children mothers linguistic diversity cultural diversity interactions play language acquisition culture bilingualism multilingualism language learners. 

References

  1. Baker C., (2000). A parents’ and teachers’ guide to bilingualism Multilingual Matters Ltd. Philadelphia, PAGoogle Scholar
  2. Bruner J., (1983). Child’s talk: Learning to use language W. W. Norton & Company New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Caldas S., Caron-Caldas S., (2002). A sociolinguistic analysis of the language preferences of adolescent bilinguals: Shifting allegiances and developing identities Applied Linguistics 23: 490–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crain-Thoreson C., Dahlin M. P., Powell T. A., (2001). Parent-child interaction in three conversational contexts: Variations in style and strategy New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development 92: 23–37CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Hamers J. F., (2000). Bilinguality and bilingualism Cambridge University Press Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  6. Jespersen O., (1922). Language, its nature, development and origin Allen and Unwin London, UKGoogle Scholar
  7. Krashen S., (1999). Condemned without a trial: Bogus arguments against bilingual education Heinemann Portsmouth, NHGoogle Scholar
  8. Lambert W. E., (1990). Persistent issues in bilingualism. In Harley B., Allen P., Cummins J., Swain M., eds. The development of second language proficiency Cambridge University Press Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  9. Matlin M. W., (2003). Cognition John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, NJGoogle Scholar
  10. NAEYC & NAECS/SDE (2004). Where we stand: On curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation Young Children 59(1): 51–53Google Scholar
  11. Santos R. M., (2004). Ensuring culturally and linguistically appropriate assessment of young children Young Children 59(1): 48–50Google Scholar
  12. The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (2005). Children in immigrant families, April 28, 2005 http://www.healthinschools.org/focus/2005/no1.htmGoogle Scholar
  13. Tse L., (2001). “Why don’t they learn English?” Separating fact from fallacy in the U.S. language debate Teacher’s College Press New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Instruction and Teacher EducationUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Instruction and Teacher EducationUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations