ERIC Number: EJ746166
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Nov
Reference Count: 19
Mum and Dad Prefer Me to Speak Bengali at Home: Code Switching and Parallel Speech in a Primary School Setting
Literacy, v40 n3 p137-145 Nov 2006
Although it contains a statutory inclusion statement, England's National Curriculum "hardly acknowledges the learning practices of different minority groups" ( Gregory and Williams, 2003, p. 103). Through observation and interview, this study examines the repertoire of languages that six children for whom English is an additional language (EAL) choose to use at home and in their primary school settings in the West of England. The study bears out and extends previous research, which indicates that children from various ethnic backgrounds are involved in a struggle where they construct and reconstruct their identities according to the social situations they find themselves in. In addition to code switching between languages, the study reports on children using "bilingual parallel speech," an unresearched practice. It shows that there may be a tension between schools' efforts to build upon the children's use of the home language and the children's reluctance to use it in a school setting, where the dominant institutional language is English, and where they would prefer to appear "like everyone else." Social capital would appear to be an important factor affecting children's use of language and this may make them reluctant to maintain and develop their home language. Schools may need to consider strategies that value bilingual children's commonality with the school culture.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Minority Groups, Language Usage, School Culture, Social Capital, National Curriculum, Code Switching (Language), Bilingualism, Indo European Languages, Elementary Schools, Observation, Interviews, English (Second Language), Family Environment, Second Language Learning
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)