Which Language for Bilingual Speakers? Factors to Consider As the bilingual population of the United States continues to increase dramatically, speech-language pathologists face the predicament of what language to use in therapy. The problem is compounded when monolingual-English speaking clinicians must provide services to students from bilingual homes. In this short article, factors are reviewed that must be ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2000
Which Language for Bilingual Speakers? Factors to Consider
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Alejandro Brice
    University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Article Information
Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2000
Which Language for Bilingual Speakers? Factors to Consider
Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, March 2000, Vol. 6, 1-8. doi:10.1044/cds6.1.1
Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, March 2000, Vol. 6, 1-8. doi:10.1044/cds6.1.1
As the bilingual population of the United States continues to increase dramatically, speech-language pathologists face the predicament of what language to use in therapy. The problem is compounded when monolingual-English speaking clinicians must provide services to students from bilingual homes. In this short article, factors are reviewed that must be considered when making therapeutic decisions regarding whether to use the first or home language (L1) or English, the second language, (L2) as the language of intervention.
As early as 1953, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report on the use of vernacular languages in education discussed the issue of which language to use with a bilingual child. Findings of that report stated that:

It is axiomatic that the best medium for teaching a child is his mother tongue. Psychologically, it is the system of meaningful signs that in his mind works automatically for expression and understanding. Sociologically, it is a means of identification among the members of the community to which he belongs. Educationally, he learns more quickly through it than through an unfamiliar linguistic medium, (p. 11)

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