Know more than one language? Don’t give it up!

BBE_Callahan_2014If it takes a village to rear a child, then “The bilingual child benefits from being raised by two or more villages!” writes linguist Rebecca Callahan (right), in The Conversation, in an article picked up by the World Economic Forum.

It’s great to see The Conversation branch out into the US, where bilingualism has at times been quite politicised. Founded in Melbourne by former Guardian/The Age editor Andrew Jaspan with Jack Rejtman, it enlists academics to analyse and comment on current news stories — the idea being to inject some research and dispassionate scrutiny  into often volatile debates.

Callahan, who is Associate Professor Bilingual/Bicultural Education, Cultural Studies in Education at University of Texas at Austin, has issued a call to action, which, although aimed at a US audience, applies here as well:

…much more needs to be done if our nation is to remain a global leader in the next century.

Schools’ role in the maintenance and development of potential bilinguals’ linguistic repertoires will be critical to this process. Whether through bilingual instruction or encouraging parents to develop their children’s home language skills, what schools do will matter.

Read the full article here.

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