Native Language Support
When examining sociolinguistics views relating to whether or not children should have support in their native languages, there are surprisingly several theories. With each article and author, with each study, a new idea is formed. Likewise, non-linguists responded the same way.
For the interviews, I interviewed Isaac, Betty, and Chantelle. All thought that support came from the family and they had various reasons why they thought so; when it came to potential problems, social factors were the answer. Native Language Support Betty believed that there should definitely be support for native language speaking.
This support should be centered around the home and around family. She elaborated: “What does it look like? Well, I would say that the more interaction with the parents and family, the better. Sit down and talk. Read, write, just use the language. That’s supporting it. Practice is support. ” She believed that the government should not pressure English only at home. They have no authority to have influence what is spoken at home at all. Isaac was eerily similar in his viewpoints: he thought children should be able to speak to their parents and family in their native language.
They could easily be supported in this by having TV channels accessible, by having movies, books, a strong community tie with others speaking the same language. He stressed that he had TV while growing up and international channels that helped him learn fluent Spanish that sounded more native than the broken Spanish he would have spoken with no contact with other people speaking the language. Today, he’s able to speak with others with no issues, and has no issues with English, either. Chantelle was of slightly different opinion. She thought it was definitely better to use some English at home, along with the native language.
Parents should be able to use some English to make sure that their children know and understand the language that they need to use in the outside world. To her, there should be a balance between the two. Essentially, yes, children should be supported in their native language, but not to the same extent as Betty and Isaac want. She also adamantly refused that the government have anything to do with languages, interestingly enough. Why? Why Not? Children can focus on their native language at home because they have more than enough opportunities to learn and practice their English outside of school.
They naturally tend to utilize extracurriculars and media to assimilate or adapt to the mainstream culture. Isaac and Betty both explained these points and mentioned that speaking a native language is a freedom that the US has no right to meddle with. “English is not the official language, and we do not need to speak it in the privacy of our homes. ” When asked why support should come from family, Betty said, “where better than to get a sense of self than from family? Where else to get someone speaking with you than your own community? However, this view establishes a sort of dichotomy between home life and school, and it may hinder progress, according to Mushi (2010). The government shouldn’t have much to do with the languages because “it’s like the freedom of religion. It gives others reason to discriminate. The country should not be biased against a certain group and language counts in this category. ” This idea really contrasts with Wiley said about the role of English. Its important to note that English functions as if it was the official language, even if it is not official.
Therefore, according to the article, it is functionally important, and relevant to emphasize English learning. Chantelle’s government position consists of a rejection that the government is capable of handling such a sensitive subject. “I disagree with English only rules, I think it’s completely insensitive. The government indirectly forces you to learn languages, and that’s wrong. It’s as personal as your own belief systems. ” Problems with the Approaches Isaac saw “no serious problem with someone speaking their language at home. Maybe now the kids will grow up knowing how to curse in a whole bunch of languages. This was the extent of his issues. For government interactions, though, he pointed out that the government did not interfere with languages to help diversity; it interfered for it’s own gains, own political and international agenda. There really is not as strong an incentive for people to learn other languages. Thus, the government helping to support native languages would not be effective. Filmore points out in one of the points made, that the government supporting bilingual education would enable more students to pass high school as opposed to dropping out.
This has no self centered motives, but a desire to have more multilingual speakers have an education (2004). Chantelle and Betty were similar in that they both recognized that some parents are unwilling to support native tongues. Some parents are not able to. Sometimes, the children themselves reject the native language. Each family and case is a different situation, and it’s sensitive enough not to be generalized. Some individuals may not like their culture or language, either, so the support systems definitely has it’s flaws.
And this view makes sense, because because Filmore (2004) states:“for many, English is not just a language. It’s synonymous with being American. ” Conclusion Overall, I did not get the reactions I was expecting. Most people seem to view language as a private and personal thing, almost like their religion. They don’t want government interference typically, but only do when it benefits them. One thing Filmore pointed out was that the public thinks the use of languages other than English in school and everywhere else means that the speakers of those language don’t change or learn English (2004).
All of the responses from the public contradicted this linguistic thought, however. It may be that the more people one interviews, the more the linguistic idea will be supported, but in this case, the public did not think there was a correlation between these two ideas. The public thought it was perfectly acceptable to speak another language at home, and speak English outside, in the workforce, and be multilingual. They didn’t think the lives would be dichotomous, but it would blend out of necessity. It would ultimately become, as cliched as it sounds, the best of both worlds.