Vol. 8. No. 1 A-1 June 2004
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Habits of Household Lingualism

Philip M. Adamek
Department of Comparative Literature
State University of New York at Buffalo


This essay contrasts two approaches to household bilingual education with respect to the notion of identity. The notion of lingualism is presented. Lingualism emphasizes the continuum between monolinguals and bilinguals through a non-quantifying understanding of language (including speech, writing, gestures, and language potential). Kouritzin's (2000) account of raising bilingual children defines identity in terms of one's first or native language. Mastery of grammatical and cultural standards is assured by the native experience of language, which itself presents a barrier to authentic L2 acquisition. Identity-bound languages are mutually conflictual and minority languages need barriers to survive. Harding's and Riley's (1986) study of bilingual families subordinates the notion of identity to that of linguistic identification. It views languages in a relationship of cross-fertilization. From this comparison, and in dialogue with works by Baker, Grosjean, Skutnabb-Kangas and Phillipson, the essay argues for a multilingual approach to multilingualism that does not reproduce monolingual ideology.

Keywords: ESL, EFL, socio-linguistics, bilingualism, second language acquisition


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