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Analysing two bilingual experiences on dimension of bilingualism
Background The process of being a bilingual has become a fascinating study conducted by many linguistics scholars recently. It is not only because of its value to enable people to communicate, but also many aspects such as economics, politics, social, and culture might result someone to become a bilingual or multilingual. Since there are many factors turning someone into a bilingual or multilingual, the portion of a bilingual or multilingual capability of each bilingual might also vary from other bilinguals. These factors are generally caused by the environment and context where a bilingual interacts with society. This situation shapes the process of acquisition of the second language differ from other bilingual with the different context. Therefore, to give an insight into a deep understanding on how a person to become a bilingual, we cannot just consider a bilingual with only limited dimension of their interaction, but also the whole part of the dimension that might contributes someone to become a bilingual. Baker (2011) analyses people becoming bilinguals and multilingual into eight dimensions of interactions namely ability, use, balance of two language, age, development: Incipicient, culture, contexts, and elective bilingualism. In addition, Harmers and Blanc (1989) assert that analysing the dimension of bilingual or multilingual speakers enable us to define their categories at either individual or societal level. Therefore, identifying such dimensions would lead those theories of bilingual factors into debatable issue regarding their bilingual dimensions practically. Concerning those issues, I am interested to investigated two bilingual people from different cultural background to draw out a brief confirming notion about the definition proposed by many linguists on bilingualism toward the real experience owned by those bilingual speakers in practical context and situation. In order to accomplish this inquiry, I use a descriptive qualitative method to analyse those two bilingual speakers. I interviewed them with some thoughtful questions describing their bilingual dimensions regarding their experience for being a bilingual. The first bilingual is from Sri Lanka who is now being an Australia citizen
he assumes that whoever can know some words in other language besides his/her mother tongue is considered as a bilingual. A bilingual is someone who is able to communicate in another language in a meaningful word or sentence in expressing his/her message. 2004) refers to a bilingual as someone who is able to convey a complete meaningful word or sentence in another language than his mother tongue. at the same perspective we can draw a single definition to what extent this essay deals with bilingual key word. The second bilingual is from Norway with Acehnese mother tongue and she has been living in Norway for 15 years. Since the above definitions vary in the way they define a bilingual. “That is. but more stress on the definition in switching a meaningful words or sentence in the target language. Another definition is proposed by Baker (2011). Edwards (2004) claims that we are all bilingual.Word count: 3607 and has been living in Australia for more than 14 years due to his current employment. In the context of language use. Some linguists define its definition in some prospective points of view. 2 . he asserts a bilingual in a wider definition referring to the ability in the use of the languages at a balanced bilingual. I will focus on the Baker’s bilingual dimensions to draw out some perspective of their bilingual interaction. Review of literature Bilingual In order to come up into further discussion. Based on his statement. This definition ignores the quantity of use in the two languages. He argues that most of bilinguals are able to interpret two languages equally more than just knowing a few words as proposed by Edwards. a preface definition should be drawn up with term of bilingual. and on socio-cultural and socio-linguistics perspectives. there is no one in the world who does not know at least a few words in [other] languages” (p 7). The fascinating part to deal with is that both of them have a same point of view on the language use. Haugen (1953 cited in Kirkici. In this analysing this research essay.
But they are called consecutive or sequential bilingualism if they learn a second language after three years of age. in the use. the role of major and minority language affects the use of speaker. is the process of becoming a bilingual on what age a person start to acquire a second language. balance of two language. there are eight interacting dimensions that should be covered in analysing bilinguals and multilinguals: ability. the minority language is often get decreased and gradually disappeared from the society if they do not do anything to anticipate this issue. Frequently. most of them only use a dominant language in their every day life.Word count: 3607 Bilingual Dimensions According to the Baker (2011)’s definition of bilingualism. he implies this condition is changing over time depending on the language use. However. but on the other side. In this third dimension. The next dimension is balanced of two languages. In the second dimensions. In the fourth dimension of Baker’s bilingual dimensions. The context in which he/she lives in required to speak a particular language in order to be able to communicate with other in community or society. Since there is more than one language in a society. use. culture. age. 3 . In the first dimension. age. and others are considered as passive bilingual and only having a receptive ability (understanding and reading). development: Incipicient. baker implies the variety of the context of a language acquired and used also determine a person to become a bilingual. these children considered to learn language simultaneously or often called as infant bilingualism. He describes on how dominantly of the two languages used. contexts. and elective bilingualism. He/she becomes actively use the majority language. Baker classifies the variety of a bilingual ability in acquire a second language. If children were born in a two language use in a particular country or their parent use two languages at the same time while interacting with their children since they were born. a bilingual is considered having a productive competence if he/she is able to speak and write in both language actively. he claims that it is hard for those bilingual to have their ability of the language equally.
the context is exogenous (e.4) In the last of his bilingual interaction dimension. feelings and attitudes towards those two cultures. phone. This condition results in temporary or permanent language attrition. awareness and empathy. Furthermore he defines this developing language as ascendant bilingualism. and having the confidence to express biculturalism. a bilingual has a stage development regarding the process the second language acquired. Baker asserts that having interaction in a big community language speaking a majority language mostly happens to immigrant context where the context is influenced by political policy in the country. Other contexts are additive such that a person learns a second language at no cost to their first language.4) states that: “A process of acculturation accompanies language learning when immigrants. Some contexts may be subtractive. Furthermore Baker (2011.g. in detail he explains: “Some of bilingual might live in bilingual or multilingual endogenous communities where using more than one language in daily interaction while others might live in monolingual or monocultural regions and networks with other bilinguals by vacations. The sixth dimension is culture. as occurs in elite or prestigious bilinguals. Bicultural competence tends to relate to knowledge of language cultures. Bilinguals are possible to have a high proficiency in two languages and interact in bicultural or multicultural community but they tend to have a monocultural. text messaging and email. p.Word count: 3607 In learning this second language. In this fifth dimension. where the politics of a country favors the replacement of the home language by the majority language (e. development: incipient bilingual. in the US and UK). behaving in culturally appropriate ways. Where there is an absence of a second language community.” Based on this quotation. it can be inferred that the culture awareness between two languages is gradually absorbed and adjusted with the native culture of a bilingual to behave in the same manner but in different way in the target culture. elective bilingualism. Baker infers that a bilingual tend to has one well-developed language. for example.g. for examples. The seventh dimension is context. This particularly occurs among immigrant bilinguals (e. Russian bilinguals in the US).” (p. Spanish being replaced by English in the US). and recessive bilingualism when it is decreasing.g. baker describes bilinguals who learn intentionally a second language besides his/her first 4 . learn the majority language of the host country.
However. This situation will not endanger their first language since they always use it in their daily context. Indonesia. The first interviewee is from Sri Lanka who is now being an Australia citizen and has been living in Australia for more than 14 years due to his current employment. According to the Baker’s definition of bilingualism. I interviewed them with thoughtful questions describing their bilingual dimensions regarding their experience for being a bilingual. the opposite of this is called circumstantial bilinguals who learn a new language because of the need or requirement of their job in a new country they are placed.Word count: 3607 language. They were born in Australia are also bilingual speakers. I formulated the 25 questions (see appendices) in interviewing these bilingual speaker containing questions 5 . In order to accomplish this inquiry. I use a qualitative approach to identify the narrative inquiry of two bilingualisms. He is 43 year old and has a family with two children. this essay only focuses on the bilingual point of view of using two languages of the interviewees. She has 3 children born in Norway but cannot speak their parent mother tongue. To gain the relevant data needed from the interviewees. a ten year daughter and an eight yean son. Method In conducting the research essay. As the result. there are eight interacting dimensions that should be covered in analysing bilinguals and multilinguals. The second interviewee is from Aceh. All of this family speak Tamil (official Sri Lanka language) and English. I investigated two bilingual people from different cultural and educational background to draw out a brief confirming notion about the definition proposed by many linguists on bilingualism dimension toward the real experience owned by those bilingual speakers in practical context and situation. they learn only the second language at the school. Conversely. She is now a citizen of Norway and has been living in Norway for 15 years. She moved to Norway due to her husband employment and she is now also having a job. they no longer use their first language and impact the loosing their language by being replaced with the second language as the majority language.
This is well supported by both interviewees’ responses. and others are considered as passive bilingual and only having a receptive ability (understanding and reading). The interview was held in year 2012 in Australia. the variety of the context of a language acquired and used also determine a person to become a bilingual. The first interview is employed as an IT staff at a manufacturer company and the second interviewee is a kindergarten teacher that is required to use the language frequently. Baker classifies the variety of a bilingual ability in acquire a second language. This question reflected from Baker’s dimensions of bilingualism as listed above and socio-cultural issues raised in bilingualism. As I was in Australia while conducting this research. the minority language is often get decreased and gradually disappeared from the society if they do not do anything to anticipate this issue. the role of major and minority language affects the use of speaker. but on the other side. For instance.Word count: 3607 asking their experiences and attitude toward bilingualism. I interviewed the first speaker in face to face but not for the second one. Finding and Discussion Bilingual dimensions In the first dimension. In this part of discussion I believe the use of language in their context variety. The duration of this interview lasted for only about 25 minutes for each. the second interviewee is regarded as a well developed ability. He/she becomes actively use the majority language. a bilingual is considered having a productive competence if he/she is able to speak and write in both language actively. the use. Therefore. the first interviewee is able to speak and write in both languages fairly and the second interviewee is able to speak both languages fluently. 6 . As she is far away so alternatively I used a phone call to interview this bilingual speaker. In the second baker’s dimensions. Since there is more than one language in a society. The context in which he/she lives in required to speak a particular language in order to be able to communicate with other in community or society.
However. most of them only use a dominant language in their every day life. he implies this condition is changing over time depending on the language use. the availability of the immersion program schools supports the minority language to exist and will there a bilingual in the new generation in the world. writing. She spent his time at work for 7. Regarding the age in the fourth dimension. The first bilingual learnt his second language at school and also in informal tuition. Frequently. This is the same with the second interviewee. The rest she spoke Acehnese with her family. the second interviewee lives in the country that doesn’t provide an immersion program at any schools of her minority language. Let’s take for example of the first interviewee who spend most of his time at works for approximately 8 hours and mostly he spent the rest of it in using Tamil with his family and Tamil friend. they are called consecutive or sequential bilingualism since they learn a second language after three years of age. he implies that it is hard for those bilingual to have their ability of the language equally.5 hours in Bokmål language. Baker states that the process of becoming a bilingual on what age a person start to acquire a second language. where the first interviewee lives in. both interviewees have unbalanced portion of the use of their language in speaking. She only used her first language only at home with her family. On the other hand. their children were born in a two language use in the countries and their parent use two languages at the same time 7 . The most interested part to analyse is how dominantly of the two languages used (balanced language). there are many immersion programs provide those languages as a medium of teaching. Unlike the first interviewee. In Baker’s dimension of age. He started to learn the second language when he was14 years old for 5 year in length at the formal school (Junior to Senior high school) and 1 year at the tuition. In one of the questions I made in the interview questions. In this third Baker’s dimensions. This can be seen many school immersion program has been built in over district with minority languages.Word count: 3607 Fortunately some developed countries now realize the important of maintaining multi language from any different ethnics in their country. For example in Australia. These two bilinguals have unbalanced language. or reading in both languages. as proposed by Baker. However. the second bilingual acquired her second language in a special course language program for 3 years provided by the government of Norway in term of Political asylum. In such particular country.
their children considered to learn language simultaneously or often called as infant bilingualism. While this condition occurs. it is impolite to address older people just saying their name without something a deserved attribute to show their respect to call someone older. the developing language could result a recessive ability on their first languages. the first bilingual lives in Australia with more than one language use on an everyday basis. In the development of learning their second language. Both of bilinguals admitted there are some different cultures between the two languages. For the examples. Indeed they gradually absorbed and adjusted with the native culture of a bilingual to behave in the same manner but basically this against their culture and prefer their culture to be more convenient with them. both bilingual have one well-developed language. This condition may results in temporary or permanent language attrition. they are called as ascendant bilingualism. In the other words. the superior language ability they have are their first language (mother tongue) and their second languages are considered as developing languages. both bilinguals are on the stage called recessive bilingualism. Regarding the context where the bilinguals live. However. however. Their ability gradually degrades since the second language is developing. in the first bilingual culture. the first speaker may also use his first language. Since they are considered having unbalanced bilinguals. On this condition. they adapt this condition in order to be able to communicate and respect another person with different culture background. This situation is support by the 8 .Word count: 3607 while interacting with their children since they were born. They realize their situation could impact the language lost that is why they always speak their mother tongue with their family and relatives as well or a bilingual with the same mother tongue. Tamil. As in Australia consists of some minority languages that is also used in community besides the majority language. So it is clear that these bilinguals having a monocultural despite living in bicultural or multicultural community. On the culture point of view. with his relatives or minority of Tamil bilingual speakers live in Australia. Baker says that Bilinguals are possible to have a high proficiency in two languages and interact in bicultural or multicultural community but they tend to have a monocultural. both of them anticipating this issue by keeping their first language with their family at home.
She further claimed that the Nynorsk language a bit hard to understand as it is only spoken by native Norwegian. One thing that cannot be neglected in bilingualism phenomenon is the bilingual identity. this situation is very different with the second bilingual living in Norway. On this issue. In the dimension of learning a second language option. 9 . Lo Bianco (2009) describes switching language use into a majority language may cause the death for their first language (indigenous languages) to a majority language often causes the language death. From all bilingual who learn a second language in late development of being bilingual. In another research about the age study. She only teach her children her mother tongue language at home. Nynorsk and Bokmal. they are established for their ethnic schools. However. Romaine (1991) describes this minority group consistently maintain their languages and establish such language maintenance institutions. the risk of language lost is higher compared with the first bilingual. as Baker claims bilinguals who learn second language from three years and more (sequential bilingualism). their first language will be in danger of being lost if they don’t anticipate this by keeping their mother tongue for their next generation. she can speak only the Bokmal language rather than Nynorsk as her second language in that country. She lives in the country having two majority languages. According to the second bilingual. Time by time. Since the availability of the minority language in the second bilingual country.5-6) describes the optimum age development of children in developing a language to social interaction and social awareness occurs in the range 6-14 months. but the children mostly learn the majority language from the community and in school. both bilinguals can be categorized into circumstantial bilinguals. 1984. Blount (in Pellegrini & Yawkey. there is no availability of school immersion program as in Australia. Consequently. Paradis (2001) claims that this sequential bilingualism are frequently from the immigrant families who speak L1 at home.Word count: 3607 government policy on immigrant social policy. p. they tend to have a clumsy dialect compared to those bilinguals who acquire a second language since they were a child. They learn their second language mostly due to their career position requiring them to have such language proficiency to support their career or job position and as the communication need in which they are placed.
10 . not like their parent in spite of starting to learn their second language at the same time and duration. The last but not least. but the socio-culture and socio-politics are also the most factors affecting someone to become a bilingual. both bilinguals are having an unbalanced bilingual competence with have a developed language in their first language. both have children growing up in their second language country (new country) showing their pronunciation as a native like. it can be seen the similarities and differences in the way they acquire a second language.Word count: 3607 This makes the finding of the two interviewees. The context in where they live in and to what extent they use their l2 language affects their ability in the second language. both of these bilinguals have sufficient proficiency in the four skills of learning their L2. Conclusion From the two bilinguals interviewed in this research essay. This phenomenon answers why the young bilingual learners tend to have native like in producing their second language. But they have a different ability compared to their L1 and L2 proficiency. In the bilingual dimension ability. They learn actively in the context of the majority language in native like situation and they do not focus on the L1 language use since it is only spoken at their home only. Therefore. having the inconvenient adaptation in the L2 culture while being a bilingual with different culture. can be conclude that people need to learn a new language not merely because their personal purposes. and an ascendant bilingualism state of the development.
1080/13670059908667 693 (reading from the unit) 11 . Foundation of bilingual education and bilingualism. In Kirkici (2004). Bilinguality & Bilingualism. http://ijb. English at home in China: How far does the bond extend? In Baker. Cambridge University Press. J. Harmers. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.. L. (1598).3-29). Foreign Language-Medium Instruction and Bilingualism: The Analysis of a Myth.). F. (2001) Do bilingual two-year olds have separate phonological systems? International Journal of Bilingualism5: 19-38. Lo Bianco.au/login?url=http://dx.. In Pellegrini & Yawkey (1984).short Smith. Journals Haugen. C. & Blanc. The Norwegian Language in America: A study in bilingual behaviour. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.. Cambridge: Cambridge University press.(5th edn. A. (Unit Reading) Romaine. (2011).tr/arastirma/hakemli_dergiler/sosyal_bilimler/pdf/2004-2/sos_bil.org/10. H.edu. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. (5th edn)..doi.com/content/5/1/19. H.69). Bilingualism and bilingual education: The child perspective. B. J. Foundation of bilingual education and bilingualism (p. (1991).deakin.8. Language in Australia. adolu. S.. E.sagepub. New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation. G. (2009).edu. (Unit Reading) Blount.Word count: 3607 References Books Baker. (1953).pdf Paradis. (1999). The development of oral and written language in social contexts (p. Mother-infant interaction: Features and Functions of parental speech in English and Spanish. (1989). J.