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Beware of those two...languages: How to avoid mixing languages


Astratto, acquarello, 3 anni


Bilingualism is often subject to bias and is still viewed with suspicion, especially by people uninformed. How often do you hear negatieve reactions also come from people who should instead be interested in the welfbeing of children and that, conversely, with their inflexibility, hinder them in their development.

Written by Giovanna Tuesday, 10 May 2011 09:36

Code-switching and sign language

Cielo stellato, da Van Gogh, acrilico 5 anni e mezzo.

A special form of bilingualism: Code switching and sign language

I recently discovered a form of what scholars consider bilingualism that struck me for its peculiarity and therefore I want to describe it. There are people who know and use the language of signs in their everyday life. The studies I've read have been conducted in America and analyze English speaking, hearing or  hard of hearing people who use the American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate for example with deaf family members. These people are viewed as bilingual to the extent that the ASL is considered a separate language due to its distinct grammar from the English one. (Bimodal bilingualism in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 11 (1), 2008, 43-61 C 2008 Cambridge University Press).

Written by Giovanna Tuesday, 03 May 2011 07:14

When languages get mixed up: about the code-switching

Fiore, acrilico, 5 anni

 Bilinguals: experts or lazy? About the code-switching

Language is the basis of communication and its choice depends on several factors. Even in a monolingual context we choose to speak a dialect or the  standard language depending on the situation or on the interlocutor. Within the standard language, we choose the linguistic register that best suits the situation: more familiar, more formal, technical etc.. Bilinguals dispose of all this in (at least) two languages and the choice is made also taking into account the linguistic knowledge of the interlocutor. In fact, a bilingual asks him/herself when starting a conversation if he/she may have recourse to another language or not. So the first decision to be taken by a bilingual is which main language to use, then if he/she can include other languages. This phenomenon, known as code-switching, is very common among bilinguals and has long enjoyed a bad reputation, being considered an act due to pure laziness and lacking of of grammatical correctness. However, linguists, having studied the issue, have reassessed this phenomenon by proving that the latter is not the result of random ungrammatical insertions, but it rather follows very strict language rules and requires a good expertise in both languages (see François Grosjean, "Bilingual: Life and Reality"). There is no question of negligence, it is rather a demonstration of skills in several languages.

Written by Giovanna Thursday, 14 April 2011 09:07

Bilingue e televisione 3

parte 1

parte 2

Acquarello, 3 anni


Quante lingue?

 Vi ricordate quando parlavamo del dilemma "quante lingue ai nostri figli"?

 Ovviamente questo è un problema “di lusso” di fronte al problema che la maggior parte dei genitori promotori del bilinguismo deve affrontare. Qui in Lussemburgo siamo costretti a limitare il numero di lingue, a fare delle scelte in base alle nostre priorità.

 Torniamo alle due situazioni che vi ho esposto in precedenza: il bambino quattrenne plurilingue di fronte al suo coetaneo “solo bilingue.

Written by Giovanna Thursday, 07 April 2011 08:51

A threatening bilingualism ... ...

Paesaggio, acrilico, 5 anni

Comparing USA and Luxembourg

Oh yes, there are people who see bilingualism as a threat to their identity. Obviously, every situation is different: in the U.S., for instance, the constant and massive immigration brings into the country adults of different nationalities who, according to numerous studies, will only partially be able to learn English. Their children, however, growing up in the United States, learn the language since their early age and can reach a very high degree of linguistic integration.

Written by Giovanna Thursday, 31 March 2011 08:12

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