This could be a thing.
This is a great piece by Héctor Tobar, a Journalism professor at the University of Oregon. By telling a personal story about his growing up in Los Angeles and the effect that had and interweaving some education policy talk, Tobar illustrates the important connection between bilingualism and political power. Policies like the one in effect until recently in California literally silence minority communities.
This is part of the broader picture I’m beginning to see of bilingualism as a type of resistance that is radical in its unifying power and transgressive in its rejection of dominant culture. Of course, in my local situation, in Japan, the power structure is turned upside-down. So, my struggle, strangely enough is teaching my children English against the background of Japanese majority culture and language. But, of course, globally, Western European (White), colonial, English-speaking is the giant. I suppose everywhere you go will have its own unique language situation with various kinds and levels of dominance and resistance being played out. In North America its pretty much English versus all-comers. And this California law is recognition of the diversity of the United States and a victory for what might be called linguistic justice.
When I first came across Bilingual Monkeys, I didn’t know it yet, but it was the beginning of my efforts to pay a lot closer attention to my son’s language learning. This is a short reflection I wrote for that blog. Thanks as always to Adam Beck for his editorial support and for maintaining such a cool website.
My son, Oliver, was born in a suburb of Hiroshima, Japan in the fall of 2013 while I was still busy wrapping up my masters degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. This is the story of our second trip back to my hometown, Asheville, North Carolina. Published on the great bilingualism blog, Bilingual Monkeys.
Sometimes I face this argument: Your children can always learn the minority language later. Why focus so much on fostering this language now? Strictly speaking, this is true: children can indeed learn a second (or additional) language at an older age, given suitable circumstances. But this argument …
The amazing beginning of modern OPOL
For a full list of “Life as a bilingual” blog posts by content area, see here.
– De Houwer, Annick (2007). Parental language input patterns and children’s bilingual use. Applied Psycholinguistics, 28, 411-424.
– Ronjat, Jules (1913). Le développement du langage observé chez un enfant bilingue. Paris: Edouard Champion.
– Barron-Hauwaert, Suzanne (2004). Language Strategies for Bilingual Families: The One-Parent-One-Language Approach. Bristol / Buffalo / Toronto: Multilingual Matters.
François Grosjean’s website.