Bilingualism and Second Language Learning



Welcome: Bilingualism and Second Language Learning
Description: Bilingualism is pervasive throughout the world, but it varies according to (1) the conditions under which people become bilingual, (2) the uses they have for their various languages, and (3) the societal status of the languages. For example, in postcolonial Africa, students may be educated in English or French while another language is spoken in the home, and yet another (e.g., Swahili in eastern Africa) may be used in public encounters and institutional settings, such as the courts (Fishman, 1978). In officially bilingual countries such as Switzerland, children use one language at home and for most schooling, but, at least if middle class, are expected to acquire competence in at least one other official language; French and German are of equivalent social status and importance to success. Yet another set of conditions in created in bilingual households, where parents who are native speakers of two different languages choose to use both in the home. Finally, bilingualism is often the product of migration. Immigrants frequently continue to use their native language—which may be of low status and not institutionally supported—at home, and learn the dominant language of their new society only as required for work, public encounters, or schooling. The children of such families, for whom school is the primary social context, may end up fully bilingual, bilingual with the new language dominant, or having little knowledge of the parental language. They are the children of particular interest in this report. A number of typologies of bilingualism have been offered. A major distinction among these typologies is that some focus their explanation at the individual and others at the societal level.
Grade Level: College / Adult
Curriculum: English / Language Arts
Keywords: Bilingualism
Author(s): Ratna Yulaika Wulandari


Web Link
  • Video about bilingualism
    Description: What happens when babies are exposed to more than one language at the same time? You might be worried about them getting confused, but The Ling Space is here this week to talk about bilingualism, and how kids have no trouble working out how to build their two languages right. It turns out babies, as always, are linguistically amazing.

  • Bilingualism and second language learning
    Description: Each language is unique and distinctive. But every language has the same basic components, namely sound, meaning, structure and vocabulary ; thus what one has to learn to attain inguistic mastery, whether in his mother tongue or in a second language (S.L. hereafter) is the same. The difference lies in the how of it, both in the acquiring and the functioning. It is how the sound and structure have been used that makes one language different from another. Thus, the factors at work in the monolingual situation are different from those of the bilingual situation.

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