The A through Z about Bilingualism & Bilingual Education

  • December 12, 2005
  • Henriette Langdon

The NOVEMBER edition of ¿Qué Tal? focused on ideas to promote more effective ways to serve culturally and linguistically different (CLD) clients. The strategies that you may use in serving those CLD clients can also be applied to any client. Consequently, please do keep in mind that each individual (just as you are) is UNIQUE!!! just as is a fingerprint!!

Below are some thoughts about Bilingualism and Bilingual Education:

  • Age is only one factor in becoming a proficient bilingual or polyglot.
  • Bilingualism can occur in a simultaneous or sequential fashion.
  • Communicating in more than one language is a very common phenomenon around the globe.
  • Diglossia means being able to communicate in two languages.
  • Exposure to peers enhances second language development.
  • Family interactions in the family’s native language do not interfere with the acquisition of a second language.
  • Grammatical competence is only one aspect of proficiency in any language.
  • Home-school connections are very instrumental in fostering bilingualism
  • Immersion programs are one of many models of bilingual instruction.
  • Jokes are very often difficult to translate from one language to another.
  • Knowledge of another language promotes understanding of people from other nations.
  • Language loss is frequent in persons speaking more than one language.
  • Motivation is an important factor in becoming proficient in another language.
  • Nonverbal communication differs among various cultures.
  • Oral language is only one aspect of language competence.
  • Pre-production or silent period is the first of several stages in second language development.
  • Questions in Spanish are written with a raised question mark ¿?.
  • Retention of the native language among immigrants is more common today.
  • Spanish-speaking persons outnumber any other language “minority” group in the United States.
  • Testing language proficiency needs to be completed using multiple sources of information.
  • Understanding the background of second language learners promotes application of better teaching strategies.
  • Vocabulary variations are common for one item within a “defined language.”
  • Writing skills should be enhanced in all phases of language learning.
  • Exit criteria from any “bilingual” program need to be analyzed with care.
  • Younger students may also experience some difficulty learning a second language.
  • Zone of Proximal Development or ZPD underlines the importance of social context in any language development process.

Happy New Year 2006! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo 2006!

The topic for the January 2006 will be on suggestions for parents regarding language use with their bilingual children. It will be written in a question/answer format.

Questions from the readership are welcome and requested.

The first 7 readers who submit original questions will be eligible for a drawing to receive a copy of the Spanish edition of the W-ABC (Super Duper Company) scheduled to appear in Early Summer of 2006. Deadline for submission: December 22, 2005

As always, I do welcome your comments.

Henriette W. Langdon, Ed.D., F-CCC-SLP
Communicative Disorders & Sciences
College of Education
San José State University
San José, CA 95192-0079
408-924-4019 voice
408-924-3641 fax

Gracias – Thank you.

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