Language development at home and school: gains and losses in young bilinguals

Parke, Tim and Drury, Rose (2001). Language development at home and school: gains and losses in young bilinguals. Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development, 21(2) pp. 117–127.



In this paper we examine the topic of the language development of three young bilingual children at both home and school. Our aim is to consider the language issues that arise in such children, taking into account their parents' language background and experience of school systems, language practices and 'policy' in the home, and the children's experience of a year of nursery school as reported by their teachers. We try to show how different strands of the children's experience fit together; their 'mother tongue', their mothers' aspirations for them, their teachers' view of their progression, and their competence in English, all considered against the background of current curriculum guidance. We conclude with an examination of the gains and losses these children have made in the school system so far, and with an analysis of what the roles of 'mother tongue' might be for children in these and similar circumstances.

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