In the essay "Aria" from his book Hunger of Memory, how does Richard Rodriguez refute arguments favoring bilingual education?

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vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the essay titled “Aria” from his book Hunger of Memory, Richard Rodriguez argues against bilingual education in a number of ways, including the following:

  • He asserts that bilingual education delays and postpones the opportunity for students to use the public language of society. It thus retards their social development and delays their chances of achieving social acceptance and success.
  • He claims that bilingual education delays the opportunity for students to learn that they have a public (as well as a private and familial) identity.
  • He argues that students need to learn how to speak a “public language.”
  • He contends that bilingual education delays a growth in confidence in the speaking of the public language – confidence that is especially necessary to developing young people.
  • He claims that learning the official, public language of one’s society helps build one’s confidence in general by giving one a public identity and allowing a young person to communicate with anyone.
  • He asserts that learning the public language allows students to focus on the full meanings of others’ words and utterances rather than simply on the unfamiliar sounds they make.
  • He claims that learning to speak the public language helps to promote a sense of full participatory citizenship:

At last, seven years old, I came to believe what had been technically true since birth: I was an American citizen.

  • He argues that as children learn to speak the public language of a society, even their parents benefit, since they feel a closer connection to the broader society of which they are technically already a part.



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Hunger of Memory

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