Bilingualism/Bilingual Education (Encyclopedia of Psychology)
Use of a language other than English in public school classrooms.
The language rights of ethnic minorities in the United States have been a source of public controversy for close to two decades. The 1970s saw record levels of immigration, bringing an estimated 4 million legal and 8 million illegal immigrants into the country. To accommodate this dramatic surge in the nation's population of foreign language speakers, language assistance has been mandated on the federal, state, and local levels in areas ranging from voting and tax collection to education, social services, disaster assistance, and consumer rights. Today Massachusetts offers driver's license tests in 24 languages; residents of California can choose one of six different languages when they vote; street signs in some parts of Miami are printed in both English and Spanish; and classroom instruction is taught in 115 different languages in New York City schools. Altogether, over 300 languages are spoken in the United States. As of 1990,31.8 million Americans spoke a language other than English at home, and the country's population included6.7 million non-English speakers. Nationwide, one-third of the children enrolled in urban schools speak a language other than English at home as their first language. Around 2.6 million schoolchildren throughout the country do not speak English at all....
(The entire section is 1282 words.)
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Bilingualism/Bilingual Education (Encyclopedia of Children's Health)
Bilingualism is the ability to communicate in two different languages. Bilingual education is the use of two different languages in classroom instruction.
Languages are learned most readily during the toddler and preschool years and, to a lesser extent, during elementary school. Therefore, children growing up in bilingual homes and/or receiving bilingual education easily acquire both languages. Throughout much of the world, bilingualism is the norm for both children and adults. In the past, immigrants to the United States often began learning and using English in their homes as soon as possible. In the early 2000s, however, many immigrants choose to maintain their native language at home. Bilingual children are at an advantage in this increasingly multilingual nation.
Bilingual language development
Language acquisition is very similar for monolingual and bilingual children, although some experts view bilingualism as a specialized case of language development. Children growing up in homes where two different languages are spoken usually acquire both languages simultaneously. Although their acquisition of each language may be...
(The entire section is 2863 words.)