Language Acquisition
August 30 2002 at 6:34 PM

Response to hey clan,

Careful about the 'automatically bilingual' assumption. I don't think that's always true. The only half-Japanese, half-American that I know in my town (yes, he lives with both of his parents) hardly speaks any Japanese. Same thing for a friend's mother who is half-half.

I think it just usually turns out that the kid ends up speaking the languages of both their parents out of mutual interests and experience in their parents' cultures (ie. actually going abroad for a while).

Now, I do have a Vietnamese (by his parents' ethnicity, but I consider him American) friend who speaks both English and Vietnamese fluently, without ever having set foot outside of America. That's because his family speaks exclusively Vietnamese at home.

And, I have some half-Chinese, half-American friends who don't speak the tiniest bit of Cantonese (or Mandarin or whatever their mother speaks) - and they live with the Chinese parent! The American father split and moved away years ago.

It all depends on the lifestyle.

Take care, all!

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