By Sari Pietikäinen, Alexandra Jaffe, Helen Kelly-Holmes, Nik Coupland
Sociolinguistics from the Periphery "presents a fascinating book about change: shifting political, economic and cultural conditions; ephemeral, sometimes even seasonal, multilingualism; and altered imaginaries for minority and indigenous languages and their users"
EDITORS: Rodríguez-Yáñez, Xoán Paulo; Lorenzo Suárez, Anxo M.; Ramallo, Fernando TITLE: Bilingualism and Education SUBTITLE: From the Family to the School SERIES TITLE: LINCOM Studies in Language Acquisition 12 PUBLISHER: LINCOM GmbH YEAR: 2009
Dalia Magaña, Department of Spanish, University of California, Davis
The volume reviewed consists of papers presented at the ''Second University of Vigo International Symposium on Bilingualism'' held in Vigo (Galicia, Spain) in October 2002. As the full title, ''Bilingualism and Education: From the Family to the School,'' suggests, the theme of the book is the role of language in socialization practices within the home and school contexts. The book consists of four sections, (Part One) ''An introduction'', (Part Two) ''Bilingual socialization in the family,'' (Part Three) Plurilingualism in education,'' and (Part Four) ''Bilingualism and education in contemporary Spain.''
Part One of the book consists of five texts that are considered an introduction to the entire volume delivered as plenary papers in the symposium. In the first paper, ''A sociology of bilingualism: From home to school and back again,'' Joshua A. Fishman discusses the issues regarding bilingualism faced by speakers who are traditionally considered disadvantaged. In his discussion of a theory of societal bilingualism, Fishman proposes several basic assumptions. Furthermore, Fishman points out the interdependence between language and culture in his argumentation about the struggles faced in multilingual communities. The author concludes his study by reinforcing the role of scholars in supporting minority and threatened languages given these languages' lack of social power. Ana Celia Zentella in ''Conducting language socialization research among U.S. Latin@ bilinguals: Premises, promises, and pitfalls'' considers the circumstances of Latin@s in the U.S. with respect to language, culture and education from a language socialization framework. Zentella contrasts the upbringings of Latin@ children in the U.S. and their Anglo middle class peers, revealing the disadvantages Latin@s face in a society that privileges the educationally geared cultural norms of the Anglo middle class and that fails to consider the cultural and linguistic diversity Latin@ children experience. The next plenary paper, ''Language socialization of infant bilingual children in the family: Quo vadis?'', by Elizabeth Lanza concerns the language situation of children developing two languages simultaneously; i.e. ''family bilingualism.'' In her study, Lanza examines the interactions between family members within bilingual households employing a one parent - one language practice. By viewing the family as a community of practice, Lanza's results reveal that children as well as adults effect language socialization, societal preservation and social change. In the article ''The development and consolidation of critical, interpretive approaches to language in bilingual education practice,'' based on Marilyn Martin-Jones' plenary, the author explores the methodological shift towards a more interpretive perspective in research on language practices and literacies. In her discussion on bilingual education practices and research, the author examines the potential available to critical approaches in this area of research such as the possibility of linking home language practices and educational institutions within a social context. The final plenary paper, ''The future of languages in a globalized world'' by Miquel Siguan concerns the effects of technological advances on many of the world's languages. While the author considers the role of English in our contemporary globalized society, he proposes that even though English is becoming the global ''lingua franca,'' it will not necessarily replace other languages given multilingual maintenance among globalized people.
Part Two of the book, ''Bilingual socialization in the family,'' begins with an introduction to this section by the section's editor Gabrielle Varro. In '''Acquired knowledge' and 'burning questions' about family bilingualism: A new vernacular?'', Varro examines the two predominant types of studies in the area of language socialization: case studies involving detailed observation of the linguistic development of a speaker within a bilingual household and group surveys probing linguistic regularities within groups of speakers. The introduction also discusses the interconnectedness between family bilingualism and bilingual socialization, pointing out the false symmetry between family and school. The author concludes with some of the challenges involving stigmatization of a language or vernacular register faced by bilingual communities within mainstream societies. The first study in Part Two, ''Family languages in France: First results of a demolinguistic survey,'' by Christine Deprez, analyzes large-scale surveys probing language-related questions in France that use quantitative research. The author concludes with the importance of triangulating such methods with qualitative research. Quantitative methods are also employed in ''Multilingualism in Finland: Past and present'' by Sirkku Latomaa, which examines language-related statistics in Finland focusing on the vitality concerns of new minority languages within this country.
The remaining studies in Part Two employ qualitative approaches, including ethnographic case studies and discourse analysis. In her qualitative study, “Interaction and argumentative strategies in the family, as mediated by Italian-French bilingualism,” Silvia Romeo explores discourse strategies, argumentative strategies, bilingual children’s input, and sibling interaction, among other topics and finds intriguing connections between these topics. ''Bilinguality and the inter-generational transmission of languages'' by Héléna Correira Labaye ethnographically studies language transmission among three Portuguese families living in France and the effect of language transmission in social mobility. Maria-Jose Azurmendi and Maria-Llanos Luque address the language situations of preschool children within a Basque community in ''Early acquisition-learning of Euskara (at age 2-4) and interdependence between general psychological development, family and school.'' In both ''The bilingual socialization of Roma children in Bulgaria'' by Hristo Kyuchukov and ''The use of Romani in Roma households'' by Dieter W. Halwachs, the focus of discussion is on the challenges faced among Roma speakers of Romani. While the first study concentrates on the literacy development of children in a bilingual context, the latter study overviews the heterogeneous situations of Roma speakers and their languages. The final study in the second section, ''Bilingual language socialization in the family: What teachers should know'' by Christine Hélot concerns the present disconnections between home practices with respect to languages and language use in school. She particularly addresses the need for educators to understand bilingual socialization and the linguistic complexities involved in bilingualism such as code-switching.
Part Three of the book, ''Plurilingualism in Education'', edited by F. Xavier Vila i Moreno, is subdivided into three sections according to the perspective of the studies with respect to plurilingualism. In the introductory portion of Part Three, the editor provides a condensed summary of the studies found in each section. Section I, ''Innovative models of plurilingual education'', consists of three papers addressing possible models of bilingual education to support minority students. The first paper, ''Bilingual schooling in post-apartheid South Africa'' by Peter Plüddemann evaluates the new and old policies in plurilingual education in the South African context. The author suggests the need for bilingual education based on home languages to realize the validation of African languages. In the next paper, ''Language contacts in deaf bilingualism: Psycholinguistic and pedagogical aspects'', Carolina Plaza Pust provides an overview of the language situation of deaf bilingualism in Europe. Within a psycholinguistic perspective, the author discusses the human linguistic ability in language contact situations including deaf bilingualism, proposing educational modifications that will promote bilingualism. The final paper in section I, part Three, ''Two-Way Immersion education: An integrated approach to bilingual education in the United States,'' by Elizabeth R. Howard reviews the criteria for success in Two-Way Immersion education, discussing the possible advantages of the implementation of such plurilingual education.
Part Three, Section II, ''Plurilingual education for maintenance and enrichment,'' consists of five papers all promoting multilingualism from differing perspectives and contexts. The first two studies in this section, ''The sociolinguistic context of bilingual education in France today'' by Christine Hélot and ''Bilingual education in Alsace'' by Roland Willemyns and Helga Bister-Broosen, concern the multilingual situation in France with respect to the educational system. In the former, Hélot discusses promising changes concerning multilingual education, yet reveals the support needed for multilingual and multicultural children, particularly for linguistic minority speakers. In the second study, the authors provide an overview of the present linguistic systems in Alsace revealing the need for Alsatian dialect support. In ''Language practices in bilingual schools: Some observed, quantitative data from Catalonia'' F. Xavier Vila i Moreno, Santi Vial i Rius and Mireia Galindo examine the language shift favoring Castilian occurring among the youth in Catalonia due to political, economic, and sociodemographic reasons and offer a suggestion for reversing this language shift. A perceived change with respect to bilingualism in Ireland is discussed in ''An overview of bilingualism and immersion education in Ireland: Complexity and change'' by Muiris Ó Laoire. The author argues for additive bilingualism in educational policy outside of Gaeltacht. The final study in section II, ''Translating words and identities in the bilingual classroom'' by Melisa Cahnmann explores the political ideologies of a bilingual instructor transmitted in her use of languages in a U.S. Spanish-English multilingual context.
Part Two, Section III, ''Plurilingualism beyond school: Social expectations and outcomes'' concerns the (dis)connections between educational systems and the surrounding communities in a range of contexts. The first study in this last section, ''Parent perceptions of bilingual schooling in developing countries'' by Carol Benson, addresses the potential parental roles in the educational system of communities in South America and Africa. These links between the community and its schools are also addressed in the case study ''The day school and evening school and the twain shall meet: A case of the Sheffield Multilingual City Initiative'' by Latita Murty. The final paper in section III, ''Adult literacy in Irish in the bilingual Gaeltacht region'' by Tadhg Ó hIfearnáin, examines the literacy situation among Gaeltacht people presenting statistics about language literacy development and ideologies of these speakers.
Part Four of the volume, ''Bilingualism and education in contemporary Spain,'' consists of ten studies concerning the role of languages in several school systems in Spain. The editor of this final part, Ángel Huguet Canalis, begins by introducing an overview of Spain's bilingual education in the preface ''Bilingüismo y educación en la España contemporánea.'' The first paper, ''Actualidad y perspectivas de la educación bilingüe en el Estado español'' by Ignasi Vila, addresses the various models of bilingual education present in Spain's State autonomic organization. Additionally, although the author reveals growing support for bilingual education, he also describes several challenges to be faced in its multilingual reality. While this first study concerns the bilingual situation in Spain from a broad perspective, the remaining studies are more language and region specific. For example, the next three studies in the volume (''A lingua galega no sistema educativo de Galicia'' by Bieito Silva Valdivia, ''Lengua y vitalidad etnolingüística en Galicia'' by José Romay Martínez and Susana Iglesias Antelo, and ''A pervivencia de ideoloxías e prácticas monolingües en sociadades bilingües: o caso galego'' by Ana Iglesias Álvarez) address specific linguistic situations prevalent in Galicia's educational systems and communities. In the first, Silva Valdiviana presents a historical and contemporary overview of Galicia's bilingual educational approach concluding with some of the prevailing challenges. Romay Martínez and Iglesias Antelo examine the characteristic profiles of Castilian and Galician speakers in Galicia, revealing the growing number of Galician speaking bilinguals due to political, social and economic factors. Lastly, within the Galician context, Iglesias Álvarez addresses some hierarchical linguistic ideologies concerning aspects of multilingualism. With respect to the context of Asturias, Xosé Antón González Riaño presents some language related statistics supporting the significance of Asturian as an official language in ''El tratamiento de las lenguas en Asturias.'' Within the Aragón geographic region, Ángel Huguet Canalis and Conxita Vendrell Serés in ''El tratamiento de las lenguas Aragón'' discuss the geographic language distribution surrounding Aragón, revealing its minority status. ''El tratamiento de las lenguas en Euskadi,'' by José Mª Madariaga Orbea, evaluates the historic and contemporary situation of the school languages present in the geographical region of Euskadi. Within the Catalonia context, Josep M. Serra Bonet reviews statistical facts relevant to the Catalan schooling in ''El tratamiento de las lenguas en Catalunya.'' The sociolinguistic situation in Navarra is analyzed at various educational levels in ''El tratamiento de las lenguas en Navarra'' by Pablo Sotés and Nekane Oroz. Lastly, Jordi Suïls Subirà and Ángel Huguet Canalis discuss the educational model in Aragon, exploring the topic of diverse linguistic competence in ''Tres lenguas oficiales para una escuela: El modelo aranés.''
The volume ''Bilingualism and Education: From the Family to the School'' predominantly concerns the connections between home and school languages and cultures. These welcome studies have a foundation in approaching the language situation of speakers from contextualized perspectives.
In its entirety, the volume offers numerous original contributions concerning the multilingual realities within several geographical contexts. A progressive trend brought to light in the volume is the concern for minority languages revealed in the thorough research on these languages and the proposals for language maintenance.
The volume is neatly divided into four main parts with an introduction for each part; however a minor organizational inconsistency is present within these introductions since for example three of these four introductions provide a general preface broadly concerning the part’s topic while one provides an informative summary of the studies in the part.
An additional minor flaw concerns the perceived content of the volume. The titles found in the book and its sections may seem appealing to educators given the recurrent word ''education'' found in these titles; however, few papers in the book truly offer practical pedagogical implications.
Comprehensively, the papers provide enriching findings for the field of multilingual education that will undoubtedly afford researchers and students in the area original insights evoking additional future dialogue and research.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Dalia Magaña is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Spanish at University
of California, Davis. Her research interests include sociolinguistics,
discourse analysis, and heritage language pedagogy.