S: History of Bilingualism
BC: Lessow-Hurley, Judith (2005). The Foundations of Dual Language Instruction. Needham, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Photo credits: www.yahoo.com
FC: A History of Bilingualism
1: The Ancient Greeks dominated Mediterranean trade during the 6th century B.C. However, the Greeks did not impose their language on other cultures. Exposure to other cultures proved to the Greeks that knowledge of other language was essential to communication.
2: Latin The Romans, on the other hand, implemented Latin education in all schools throughout the empire, regardless of native language.
3: Jewish language has changed too. Hebrew is the language the Jewish people use during worship, although the language was discontinued. Yiddish is a commonly known Jewish language because of its similarity to the German language. | Jewish Language
4: Defining Bilingualism Officially, a bilingual country conducts transactions in more than one language in schools and government. Usually, just a small percentage of the population speaks multiple languages regularly. Citizens of a bilingual country may not speak more than one language. Some newly independent developing countries choose one national language in order to create a sense of nationalism or unification. This is especially true in countries without a linguaistic boundary
5: Multilingualism in the U.S. The founding fathers did not establish an official language in the U.S. Constitution, although most assume it is English. The U.S. was a multilingual nation from its creation, comprised of indigenous languages, Spanish, and languages spoken by various immigrant groups.
6: The Modern World There are several bilingual countries around the world today. | Israel | Canada | Ireland China Belgium | Sweden | Paraguay
7: South Africa | Cyprus
8: China The Chinese government is supportive of bilingualism in the country. Mandarin Chinese is considered to be the national language. After Hong Kong was returned to the Chinese in 1997, Cantonese Chinese was taught in schools instead of English. However, English is commonly spoken in business transactions in Hong Kong, so there is some resistance to this change.
9: There are 56 nationalities in China, and 54 of these have their own language. Nationalities are protected by the constitution to preserve their minority languages. Media and political literature is usually distributed in multiple languages. Students enrolled in dual language immersion programs in Chinese schools perform at high levels and have improved attendance rates around the country.
10: South Africa Nine languages are recognized in South Africa, in addition to English and Afrikaans. | Paraguay Guarani, an indigenous language, is the national language of Paraguay. Spanish is the nation's official language. Spanish is used in schools, and Guarani is used socially and in literature.
11: Canada Canada has been officially bilingual in French and English since the Official Languages Act passed in 1967. French Canadians have struggled for equal status with English speakers. However, Canada's dual immersion programs serve as a model for other bilingual countries. Besides French and English, other languages are spoken in Canada by indigenous peoples and immigrants.
12: India 15 languages are recognized in India's constitution, including Hindi and English. Although illiteracy is an issue in India, most people are bilingual or multilingual. English is spoken by only 5% of the population, and is deemed a colonial language by the ruling parties.
13: Sweden 12% of Sweden's population are immigrants. Bilingual education teaches students Swedish and allows them to use their native language. Children go through school learning in their native language until about 5th grade, and at this point, they should be prepared to learn equally in Swedish and their first language. One challenge is to accommodate all languages with a growing immigrant population.
14: History of Dual Language Instruction in U.S. | During the 19th century, several languages were taught in the United States, including Danish, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Spanish, Czech, Polish, Italian, and French. In fact, dual language instruction has taken place in the U.S. since the nation's creation.
15: Cherokee Language The Cherokee have a tradition of education. The Sequoia developed the Cherokee written language, which made it easier to create bilingual materials. As a result, many Cherokee people were bilingual in English and Cherokee. In fact, more members of the Oklahoma Cherokee tribe spoke English in 1852 than the white populations of Texas and Arkansas. | Sample of a Cherokee letter
17: Dual Language Instruction for Immigrants German immigrants found that their native language was highly regarded in America in the 19th century. Many Germans settled in the Midwest, where concentrated German populations developed. Because German immigrants settled in mostly isolated, rural communities, English speakers were not threatened by the German language. German immigrants formed schools and flourished. Not only did German children learn English in Midwestern states like Ohio and Missouri, native English speaking children were taught German as a second language. By the end of the nineteenth century, an anti-Catholic movement emerged as more Irish Catholics immigrated to the United States. German Catholics were targeted. Anti-German attitudes piqued at the onset of World War I, and legislation passed to eliminate German dual language instruction in the United States.
18: Twentieth Century Both isolation and nationalism came out of World War I in America. Between WWI and WWII, most foreign language instruction was eliminated. However, after the Sputnik launched, an interest in foreign language emerged again in the 1950's. A key to national security was knowledge of foreign languages, and the National Defense Education Act was signed in 1958.
19: Cuban Revolution Cuban immigrants began to arrive in south Florida in 1959 as a result of the Cuban Revolution. Coral Way Elementary School in Miami established bilingual education in Spanish and English. Soon, schools in Texas California, New Jersey and Arizona followed suit. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's also paved the way for rights for all people.
20: Bilingual Education Laws President Lyndon B. Johnson and Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 in an effort to make education an equal right for Americans. | In 1968, the Bilingual Education Act, or Title VII of ESEA, was signed. This act provided funding for schools with non-native English students. The law also provided teacher training, research and other support. In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Lau v. Nichols decision that children must have equal access to Education regardless of their native language.
21: Since 1970, immigrants have seen less support from the U.S. government regarding language education. In 1987, dual language instruction was limited in California even though 1.3 million immigrants were living in the state. Arizona also limited language instruction in 2000. A new trend in American education is that teachers are being trained to work with students whose native language is not English. New experimental language programs are developing to better suit students who deserve an equal education as native English speakers.