Speaking in Tongues

The other day I heard about an interesting-sounding film called Speaking in Tongues, which tackles issues surrounding bilingual education in the USA, and follows four American children who are being educated in immersion programs in San Francisco. Two of children are in immersion programs to retain their native languages while learning English, and the other two are learning other languages through the programs. It demonstrates the practical benefits of being bilingual and dispels some of the myths. In part it is a reaction to the ‘English only’ movements that have sprung up in many parts of the USA.

There’s also a blog which discusses the film and the issues it addresses.

Have any of you seen it?

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This entry was posted in Language, Language learning.

3 Responses to Speaking in Tongues

  1. Jerry says:

    I Have not seen the film, but I’m interested!

    I don’t know exactly what the “English only” act implies, but there is something to say for using one language the official one in a country. That should not have anything to do with which language you speak at your home or which languages you’re taught.

    Just dug up some numbers of population and main languages… The US has 310 million people (English 82%, Spanish 11%), Germany 81 million (German 96%), the Netherlands less than 17 million (Dutch 91%, Frysian 3%, Limburgs 5%), Switzerland less than 8 million (German 64%, French 20%, Italian 4%, Romansh 1%). No correlation between population and number of languages, which is interesting.

    Here in the Netherlands, there are several organisations keeping the Frysian language alive, making sure it’s on the sign posts, etc. But it’s still part of the Netherlands. Street signs should be in Dutch, people at state organisations should speak Dutch. So you know what to expect when you go there, a part of the Netherlands.

    But that doesn’t mean the Frysian language should not be taught at school.

    Jerry

  2. Andrew says:

    I haven’t but I will now, that sounds really interesting.

  3. jonas says:

    To Jerry: the movement? You know, it’s one of these: http://xkcd.com/84/