Translation into Welsh kindly provided by British Council Wales
Ynglŷn a Diwrnod Ieithoedd Ewrop
Beth yw Diwrnod Ieithoedd Ewrop?
Pam Diwrnod Ieithoedd Ewrop?
Pwy sy'n gallu cymryd rhan?
Sut i gymryd rhan?
Crys-T Diwrnod Ieithoedd Ewrop
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Cystadleuaeth Crys T Diwrnod Ieithoedd Ewrop
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1. My mother tongue is all I need.
MythWhile this might be true for a small number of people, for the majority of citizens in Europe, another language besides one’s mother tongue is needed for education, doing business – and understanding cultures.
2. I’m not bilingual/multilingual. I can only speak one language.
Most likely a mythThere is a high chance that you actually are. Some years ago, it was considered that a bilingual person needed to know two languages really well and be a native speaker of one and a “near - native” speaker of the other. The new view on the matter doesn’t place such expectations on language users. If you understand commercials, songs, poems, signs, phrases in another language, then you are multilingual - you use more than one language to understand the message.
3. Most people in the world use more than one language.
Fact“Over 50 per cent of the world’s population function in two or more languages on a daily basis. In other words, multilingualism, not monolingualism, is the norm. There are many reasons why someone might be bi - or multilingual: having parents who speak two languages; moving abroad to work; political migration, where individuals and families need to learn the language of a new community while maintaining links to the home country; education, where children pick up foreign or second languages at school; bi - or multilingual communities, where individuals switch between languages on a daily basis; and historical events, such as the 'discoveries’ in the 15th and 16th centuries that led to colonialism, where the language of the coloniser was adopted by the people, and continues to survive in a local variety.”Nayr Ibrahim (2015)
4. English is the only language children need.
MythIn the situation where children’s mother tongue is English, that would leave them functioning as a monolingual. This means they would be deprived of the enriching experience of additional language learning. On the other hand, if children speak only their mother tongue and English, they are deprived of numerous opportunities that come with knowing other European (and world) languages. This has implications for future education and employment.
5. Children get confused if they learn more than one language at the same time.
MythResearch has shown that learning more languages does not in any way damage children – it can only make them better at communicating and learning further languages. Some bilingual children may mix grammar rules from time to time or use words from both languages in the same sentence, e.g., ‘quiero mas juice’ [I want more juice]. This is a normal part of bilingual language development and does not mean that the child is confused. Usually by age 4, children can separate the different languages but might still blend or mix both languages in the same sentence on occasion. They will ultimately learn to separate both languages correctly.
6. I can’t help a child to learn or use a language I don’t know (well enough) myself.
Most likely a mythThis could not be further from the truth. As a teacher or an educator, you can create opportunities for children to use their home languages. Inviting them to draw parallels with the target language and their own home language, you can easily understand what the children are saying and perhaps even learn from them!
7. If learners don’t know the language of schooling, they’ll learn it best by being exposed to that language only - and by using that language only.
MythForcing one language on children to the detriment of their mother tongue will not produce the desired results. Children’s home languages provide a necessary safety net and a cognitive tool that they use for learning. Encouraging use of the home languages facilitates developing skills in the language(s) of schooling, the home languages, and additional languages.
8. Continued use of the home language(s) will interfere with children’s learning of the language of schooling.
MythIn fact, the home language(s) can be used as a base for acquiring the language of schooling and additional languages. It also gives children a language to communicate in with parents, care givers and maybe also teachers whilst learning other languages.
9. My job is to teach X as a foreign language and not to deal with other languages in my classroom.
MythAcknowledging children’s home languages and any other languages they might know, will make them feel welcome and valued. Working in an environment where they feel valued and secure allows children to become more interested and engaged in their work. By opening the door of the classroom to different languages, the lives of both children and teachers/educators can be enriched. The time taken to include children’s languages will be rewarded by increased benefits in language learning generally.
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