Archive for March, 2010

Does bilingual education REALLY cost more?

I’m doubtful. What can I say. But, every time I turn around it seems that yet another school district is cutting bilingual education. For me, it doesn’t add up. The most recent story I saw is one in Florida where Orange County Schools will cut programs for more than 1,000 children. Officials are said to have cited class size and time allowed for special language programs.

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Building Community

Two articles I read this week highlighted the power and role in developing communication across cultures bilingualism can have. While the two articles are otherwise unrelated they struck a chord. Read the rest of this entry »

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Accidental Translation

I read this story about the bus accident in Arizona and how a boy, 11 years old, translated for paramedics and firefighters at the scene. In what was most likely total chaos and confusion, and despite his own injuries, this child translated for people who were injured so that the rescue workers could do their jobs. Wow!

Is translation that remarkable? I would say yes. Partly, because it’s hard to do (and partly because I’m not so good at it). But first, some terms. Although typically we think about both written and oral translation as translation, these involve different, related processes. Typically translation refers to conversion of one written language to another. And interpretation refers to listening to one language and producing what is heard in the other (more on these differences here).

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Weaker Links and Missing Days

Okay, I know this probably isn’t what Gollan has in mind when she writes about weaker links. But, I couldn’t help but relate the story of the French-English bilingual calendars which were accidentally printed with a day missing– Saturday (in English) to be exact. The weak links hypothesis is the idea that because bilinguals need to know more words (words in L1 and L2) they divide their attention and practice between them. Knowing more words leads to less practice with each word. So, the subtle differences in bilinguals’ performance (in comparison to monolinguals) may be due to using words with less frequency. You can read more about this here. Anyway, here the calendar makers had to handle twice as many words (7 vs. 14). In trying to handle 14 (instead of the usual 7) they lost one (oops). Read the rest of this entry »

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