Losing Your Parents' Language - BBC radio

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Daedalus's picture
Joined: 26/11/2009 - 09:39
Posts: 3719
Losing Your Parents' Language - BBC radio

What's it like to lose the language spoken by your parents? Michael Rosen goes to meet families in which parents and children have different mother tongues. He meets those who have made the decision to bring their children up in English, and asks their children what it's like when your parents speak a language you can't understand. He also talks to parents who want to ensure that their language continues down the generations, and fear "losing" their children to English.


Ummbintaini's picture
Joined: 01/12/2009 - 18:19
Posts: 1152

That's where bilingual families come in.  I think what's happened in the past is that teachers etc have been so concerned that the children of immigrants learn enough English to do well at school, that there's been a lot of people advised not to speak their back home language with the kids, and to raise them speaking English.  I've even heard such advice given in very recent times, by educational professionals.  IMO there needs to be more awareness of the benefits and importance of raising children bilingual, and also some mythbusting, i.e. explaining that it won't disadvantage them in English, that it can be done easily, e.g. each parent speaking a different language, or the minority language at home method.  If you do the minority langauge at home method it's important for the child to get extensive exposure to the majority language outside the home (and through kids TV) so that they're already fluent before they go to school.  But that's not difficult at all if you send them to nursery.  (that's the method we have in our family).

It's a shame I can't watch the programme as BBC is not available here, even the ones they put online (the old "not available in your country" message.... :( )

JacquiL's picture
Joined: 26/11/2009 - 11:56
Posts: 25845

My parents grew up speaking Irish Gaelic, but  were discouraged from talking to us in their mother tongue as they were leiving in England. They were told we would be ostracised if we spoke with an Irish accent or used Irish words, typical Britain of the 60's and 70's. 
The advantages to my parents were that they could talk without us knowing what they were saying, the disadvatages  were they could talk without us knowing what they were saying