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ERIC Number: EJ1162003
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1367-0050
What Is Your "First" Language in Bilingual Canada? A Study of Language Background Profiling at Publicly Funded Elementary Schools across Three Provinces
Slavkov, Nikolay
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, v21 n1 p20-37 2018
Canada is a country with a complex linguistic and cultural landscape characterized by two official languages (English and French), a steady influx of immigrants, and a number of aboriginal communities. Within this rich local context, and in a broader global environment where bilingualism and multilingualism are increasingly recognized as a norm rather than an exception, I review language background profiling practices at publicly funded Canadian elementary schools. A sample of 96 school intake/registration forms was collected from school boards in Canada's three largest English-speaking provinces: Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. An analysis of the data indicates a high degree of variability in terms of the number, type and combination patterns of the language background questions asked. While school boards recognize various aspects of sequential bilingualism and multilingualism, most registration forms do not allow explicitly for the possibility of a child having more than one first/native language (simultaneous bilingualism). A discussion of what I call chronological-nativist (i.e. focused on the notion of a person's first/native/mother language) and synchronic-functional (i.e. focused on a person's current language abilities) approaches to language profiling provides further insights into some underlying assumptions held by provincial educational systems with regard to monolingual, bilingual and multilingual norms.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A