Can the principle of ‘one person – one language’ be disregarded as unrealisttcally elitist?
Early accounts of the achievement of bilingualism in children of dual-language couples stressed the importance of clear language differentiation according to a principle called ‘one person-one language’. This approach has come under attack recently as being elitist and atypical of bilinguals, and largely unrealistic. Proponents of these criticisms fail to see the benefits that knowledge of the factors which can make bilingualism succeed under these conditions can have for families in a diverse range of bilingual situations. The ‘one person-one language’ principle will be conceptualised as successful because it invokes principles of language maintenance relevant for bilingual societies on the level of individual families. This is seen as important in situations where societal support is minimal or non-existent.
Published online: 01 January 1998
Bain, B. and A. Yu
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