Bilingual education is not just about education and bilingualism. There are dimensions to bilingual education that require a multidisciplinary understanding. It is not just about the use of two languages in the classroom. There are dimensions to bilingual education that involve economics, philosophy, history, sociolinguistics, and, not least, politics as well as language planning. For example, bilingual education is a means of language planning that sometimes seeks to assimilate indigenous and immigrant minorities, or to integrate newcomers or minority groups. At other times, bilingual education is a major plank in language revitalization and preservation. There is the viewpoint of language planners is one essential means of language maintenance, revitalization, and reversing language shift. The benefits of bilingual education are not self-apparent or intrinsically obvious. Therefore, the notion of bilingual education has to be marketed so that both the public and politicians are persuaded and convinced.
The present article poses some fundamental questions related to bilingualism and to the acquisition of two phonological components, by very young children. It discusses different types of bilingualism and their outcomes. After a brief consideration of alleged pros and cons of bilingualism brought up in the past decades, two perspectives of bilingualism are sketched—psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic—and certain aspects of bilingual child phonology are presented from each of these points of view. The essential issue is whether different outcomes of bilingual child phonology are predictable, and to find the crucial criteria to support the predictions. Finally, the discussion addresses some basic questions about bilingual acquisition, and ends with a summary of various types of cross-linguistic interaction.
Marjorie Bingham Wesche
Content-based second language instruction is the essence of this article. Content-based instruction is a form of communicative language teaching in which language instruction is integrated with school or academic content instruction. Content-based approaches to second and foreign language teaching have in recent decades become increasingly prominent at all levels of schooling and in postsecondary education. In content-based instruction as in other experiential communicative language teaching approaches, the traditional second language instructional focus on raising learners' awareness of linguistic form is secondary to a focus on their learning and sharing of information through the medium of the second language, in a curriculum based on the language needed for learning the particular content. As content-based instruction evolves, there is, as well, increasing recognition of the need to draw learners' attention to formal properties of the language within communicative situations. Content-based is likely to continue to flourish, particularly in developing advanced second language proficiency.
Curriculum Development in Foreign Language Education: The Interface between Political and Professional Decisions
Péter Medgyes and Marianne Nikolov
The essence of this article is the development of curriculum in foreign language education and the interface between political and professional. This article falls into two main sections. The first section is concerned with general aspects of curriculum development and innovation. It sets out to define the curriculum in relation to its sister concept, the syllabus, and it further examines the connection between theoretical and practical aspects of curriculum development. It goes on to address the issue of curriculum innovation, an undertaking aimed at resolving the conflict between what is desirable and what is acceptable and feasible. In view of pressing needs, this contradiction has become more acute in recent years, giving rise to various kinds of friction between curriculum designers and teachers on the one hand and specialists and policymakers on the other. Among all the conditions of curriculum reforms, the primary one requires concerted efforts among all participants in education.
Janneke Van Hofwegen
This chapter addresses what patterns of African American English (AAE) usage are demonstrated prior to adolescence by highlighting evidence from a longitudinal corpus of AAE spanning 11 years in the lives of ~70 African American children, from pre-kindergarten to mid-adolescence. Through a series of studies on this data set, a picture has emerged of what general AAE development looks like—primarily, that children utilize a roller coaster pattern of AAE use, peaking and dipping at relatively consistent points in their lives (but to varying degrees). At the same time, their vocalic systems remain fairly stable. These speakers appear to gradually acquire competence in style-shifting between AAE and mainstream American English, but the sample is diverse in terms of when/how this competence emerges. Finally, these analyses reveal when important family, educational, and social factors impact AAE language development most acutely.
Brandi L. Newkirk-Turner, RaMonda Horton, and Ida J. Stockman
This chapter reviews studies of developing language by children who are acquiring African American English (AAE). It focuses specifically on the acquisition period from birth up to age four. The reviewed studies of language form, content, and use includes children who were typical learners of AAE within the zero-four age range and studies that provided descriptions of their spontaneous language sampled in natural settings at two or more ages. Single-age studies with multiple data points within this age range were also included under certain circumstances. The review shows that African American children who acquire AAE are no exception to the longstanding evidence that children acquire the language system to which they are exposed from a very early age. Finally, the chapter highlights literature gaps and potential areas of future language acquisition research on the language of African American children prior to age four.
With hundreds of the world’s languages now in danger, the need for effective methods of language revitalization has never been greater. Yet most efforts fall short of their objective. The central point of this chapter is that language revitalization is possible only if it is possible to create or maintain the conditions under which language acquisition can take place. Two key issues are explored in detail—the question of how children acquire (and lose) language, and the question of how bilingualism can be pursued as a key component of language revitalization. The answers to both questions have certain features in common, including acknowledgment of the advantages that arise from exposure to the language at a young age, a recognition of the importance of ample, high-quality input, and the need for ongoing opportunities to use the language in a range of communicative situations.
Robert C. Gardner
This article focuses on second language acquisition seen from a social psychological perspective. The basic premise underlying a social psychological perspective of second language acquisition is that language is a defining characteristic of the individual. It is involved in one's thoughts, self-communication, social interaction, and perception of the world. Moreover, language is a defining attribute of cultural groups. It serves to distinguish one group from another, and thus to reflect one's cultural identity. Thus, to learn a second language involves, to some extent, making part of another cultural group part of one's self, even if this is only the vocabulary, sounds, verbal forms, and so forth of that group. That is, the language is more than a symbolic system that facilitates communication among individuals; it is a defining feature of self-identity linked directly to the very social existence of the individual. The future looks bright, but continued research focusing on empirical findings represents its greatest strength.
James P. Lantolf
This article focuses on the idea of sociocultural theory and the pedagogical imperative. Sociocultural theory has long been used as a lens to explain the processes involved in second language learning and instruction. This article extensively refers to some of the major theorists in the field of linguistics. It then presents selected data and findings from a recent study by Ferreira on ESL writing instruction that adopts Vygotsky's original perspective on theory and research. Two studies, by Negueruela and Poehner, have focused heavily on grammar learning and are already well known in the literature. These studies have approached grammar as conceptual knowledge that may help learners more effectively to create meanings that express their particular communicative intentions. This theory not only informs but also guides research carried out under controlled laboratory conditions, which includes the classroom setting when it is treated as a quasi-experimental venue.