Topics: Linguistics, Language acquisition, Second language Pages: 4 (1449 words) Published: July 17, 2013
The purpose of this digest is to help pediatricians, speech language pathologists, classroom teachers, and other professionals who work with bilingual children and their parents understand common parental concerns related to bilingual childrearing and become familiar with the current science on bilingual child development. Greater insight into both issues will allow these professionals to provide more effective and scientifically sound advice to parents. A growing number of U.S. parents view bilingualism as a laudable family goal. The reasons for this trend include a desire to maintain ties to the parents' heritage language and culture, to provide children with academic and cognitive advantages, and to promote cross-cultural understanding and communication. Yet research indicates that success in raising children to be bilingual remains the exception in the United States, as most children eventually become English dominant or even monolingual in English (Wong Fillmore, 2000). This is due at least in part to the high status of English and the limited number of opportunities available for children to learn languages other than English. Research also indicates that parents' beliefs, attitudes, and interactions with their children are important in helping children become bilingual (De Houwer, 1998; Lanza, 1997). In order to better inform early childhood professionals, who can play a key role in shaping parents' beliefs and behaviors, we conducted individual in-depth interviews with 24 economically and culturally diverse families in Washington, DC, all of whom aimed to raise their children (then ages 0 to 5) as Spanish-English bilinguals (King & Fogle, in press). Here we summarize, in four key points, the findings of our investigation in light of the current research literature on bilingual development: • Although many parents believe that bilingualism results in language delay, research suggests that monolingual and bilingual children meet major language...
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