Language learning myths – is the sky falling?

keep-calm-and-be-bilingual-2Will the sky fall in if your child learns a language other than English?Heard any of these when you explain that your child is spending their Saturday morning (or weeknight) on language classes?

“Time spent on one language means time taken away from another”

“Other languages detract from your child’s ability to acquire English literacy”

“Real Australian” students shouldn’t bother learning a second language, because they will face unfair competition from students who have grown up with that language”

“Students who speak and hear a language at home don’t really have to learn it” 

The University of Melbourne’s Research Unit for Multilingualism and Cross-Cultural Education (RUMACC) has a handy brochure on some  common misconceptions about children learning another language or maintaining the language of their home.

Download it here. 

The Sky is falling!


1916 illustration for ‘Chicken Little’

RUMACC is also developing a collection of readers in other languages, starting with Chicken Little.

Sometimes known as Henny Penny or Chicken Licken, this is the story of a chook who leads  a gaggle of farm animals to an untimely end as a result of her belief that the sky is falling. The tale has passed into popular English usage as an idiom indicating a hysterical or mistaken belief that disaster is imminent.

There is also a series of readers in East Timorese languages,  Somali and Italian.

And a very useful post, by Rita Rosenback, author of the US blog,, on the seven worries parents of bilingual children have.

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