Raising Bilingual Children - Carey Myles

This book holds particular interest for me: I'm hoping our baby grows up speaking both Chinese and English, and it would be wonderful if she were literate in Chinese as well. (I can read and write a little bit, but I don't really consider myself literate.) Written by a Portlander, Raising Bilingual Children covers a variety of topics: an overview of what "bilingual" means, various theories about language acquisition, literacy, and biculturalism. There were a lot of things I'd already thought about and pondered, but Myles also raised some issues that hadn't occurred to me.

One weakness of the book for my situation is that a lot of the book addresses families in which one or both parents do not speak the majority language—English, in this case—and so learning the minority language is a necessity. It also covers cases in which the family lives in a community where the minority language is commonly spoken, and there is some danger of the children falling behind in English. There aren't as many suggestions for my case—I speak Chinese and English, my wife does not speak Chinese, and my English is better than my Chinese. There are a lot of resources in the appendix which I plan to explore.

At any rate, the parts of the book I found most helpful were about examining my motivations for raising a bilingual child, and thinking about how to make the minority language relevant and useful to the child.

Fed to jonathan's brain | December 21, 2003