Last month we had a work experience student with us from Germany. Loïc grew up speaking three languages (his father is one of our authors and you can read about his multilingual journey in our book Raising Multilingual Children), so we wanted to ask him about his experience of being multilingual.
How many languages do you speak?
I would say that I fluently speak three languages: German, Dutch and English.
Did you grow up learning all those or did you learn any later in life?
The first language I learnt was Dutch, as my mom is a Dutch native speaker. Shortly after that, through my father speaking English with me, I became proficient in English as well. Then lastly by living in a German environment, going to German kindergarten and having mostly German friends, German was the third language I learnt.
Do you think of any one language as your ‘mother tongue’ or do you count them all?
I would count all of them as my ‘mother tongue’ even though I speak some better than others and also feel more comfortable depending on the language I speak.
Do you feel your personality changes depending on the language you’re speaking?
I personally can only refer to me feeling most comfortable whilst speaking English. From my friends and family I have heard that I get annoyed a lot faster, and on account of that, curse a lot more, when I speak German.
Which language do you find most difficult and why?
It is most difficult for me to speak Dutch, because I don’t often have the opportunity to speak it. My mom and I stopped speaking Dutch to each other about five years ago as I usually just responded in German. The reason for that I still haven`t figured out (ultimate act of teenage defiance?) I must say that I do regret that, but if I stay with my Dutch family for more than 3 days I usually get the hang of it again.
Which is your favourite language to speak and why?
My favourite language to speak depends a lot on who I’m talking to – with my friends I feel the best speaking German, with my family English or Dutch (depending on what they would rather speak). Overall I must say though that English is my favourite language and usually that is the language I go with when I am emotional.
You live in Germany – how do you maintain your other languages?
I do live in Germany, yes. Maintaining my German is understandably easy and my English also mainly easy, as I practice in school, with foreign friends, online, with media and with my father most of all. My Dutch on the other hand is somewhat more difficult to maintain, but I recently starting speaking more Dutch with my mom and some of my Dutch friends. Mainly I practice my Dutch though when I am in the Netherlands or in Belgium.
What are the advantages of being multilingual?
The range of people I can speak to is a lot bigger. In general, all the benefits you gain from speaking other languages, just that I didn’t have to undergo the time-consuming process of learning a different language… which is supremely helpful. I think every person who has tried to learn a language knows the frustration of not being able to express yourself correctly in that language, because of a lack of proficiency. So I am very happy and lucky that my parents brought me up to be trilingual.
There are also some disadvantages of being multilingual. These disadvantages for me would be that I often switch words in languages or sometimes forget to address a person in the correct language. Generally speaking though I think the cons are strongly outweighed by the pros.
Raising Multilingual Children is available on our website.
This month we published Contemporary Christian Travel by Amos S. Ron and Dallen J. Timothy. In this post the authors answer some questions about the inspiration behind the book and their experience putting it together.
What were your motivations in writing this book?
We have some motivations in common, as well as some individual ones. We both love religions in general, as they reveal a great deal about cultures and people, and their encounters with deity and nature. We have an awareness of the magnitude and impact of faith-based travel in general, and Christian faith-based travel in particular, which is an increasingly important phenomenon worldwide. We wanted to highlight that Christianity is diverse with many different denominations practicing their own versions of pilgrimage and manifesting in different patterns of travel, products and destinations. We also enjoy gaining knowledge and sharing it with others, which is why we decided to write this book to fill an academic gap as regards one of the largest faiths on the planet.
An additional motivation was to create a dialogue and understanding within Christianity, which seems to be important, albeit somewhat lacking, in our world. We believe that this book has the potential to contribute to this goal.
In my case (Amos), working on such a book is less obvious because I am not even Christian. However, my professional background is very relevant. Apart from my academic career in cultural geography and tourism studies, I have been guiding Christian pilgrims through the Holy Land for decades, and often these encounters encouraged me to know more. For example, I once guided an evangelical group that came on their pilgrimage with suitcases full of medications to give away to needy locals. At the end of the tour, I had boxloads of medications in the back of my car. Through this event and others I became more interested in humanitarian needs and volunteer tourism.
In my case (Dallen), I am a devout Christian and have personally undertaken spiritually-oriented travel that I found to be uplifting, enjoyable and relevant. I have many friends and colleagues of many different religions throughout the world. I also have numerous friends who belong to many different Christian denominations. I have spent years trying to understand different churches’ doctrines and practices associated with religiously-motivated travel, relationships with deity, the earth and other sojourners. Amos and I have been researching religion and tourism separately for many years and together for the past 12 years. There is always more to learn; this book represents a step in the right direction toward providing a deeper understanding of how religion simultaneously venerates, blesses, consumes and commercializes sacred places.
Did you enjoy writing it?
We definitely did. It took us a number of years to gather all of the information we needed and many site visits in order to experience Christian tourism for ourselves first hand. One of the reasons we enjoyed writing the book was the fact that this book is different, unique. It is not ‘more of the same’, and so far, the reviewers have agreed with us.
How was it to work together?
A pleasure. A very positive experience. Writing with others can be challenging, but for us it was easy, as we think in much the same way.
How will the Christian travel market accept this book?
We will find out, but we think that in addition to the academic aspects of this book, it is relevant to the Christian faith-based travel industry for the purpose of developing new markets, understanding consumers’ experiences, and connecting supply with demand.
For more information about this book please see our website.
If you found this interesting, you might also like Tourism and Religion edited by Richard Butler and Wantanee Suntikul.
It’s all change in the MM/CVP office as Sarah, our Head of Production and Commissioning Editor of Channel View titles, is about to move back to her beloved hometown of Dawlish and will be working mostly from home from now on, with monthly visits to the office. We will really miss her and are very sad not to be seeing her on a daily basis. In this post we find out how she’s feeling about the big move…
What will you miss most about coming into the office every day?
My super wonderful colleagues/work family! 😊 We have a lot of fun in the office – I will miss Fridays especially when everyone is in with cakes/doughnuts and Spotify playlists. But will try to come up to Bristol for at least one Friday a month. I’ve worked with everyone (some longer than others!) for a number of years so I’m trying to prepare myself not to see their faces every day – it will be strange and not a welcome thought!
What will you miss about living in Bristol?
It’s a great city to live in – and I will miss many things about city life (including Uber and Deliveroo!) But for Bristol the street art and balloons will be missed. Just lucky I still get to visit regularly.
What are you most looking forward to about moving to Dawlish?
Being back with my crazy-big family will be lovely – and living by the sea again will be ace. I’ve missed it!
What do you think will be the biggest difference working mostly from home?
Well, there will be no-one forced to listen to my wittering apart from me so I will be monitoring sanity levels regularly 😊 I guess just the feeling of togetherness. Thankful for instant messaging though – should make it easier to stay in touch with colleagues and ask quick questions when necessary. Looking forward to sometimes working in my PJs if I feel like it – never felt it was appropriate in the office 🙂
Will you be bringing us scones on a monthly basis?
Of course! But you really have to put jam on first (even though it’s the Cornish way) and pronounce ‘scone’ properly.
We wish Sarah the best of luck with the move and are already looking forward to our first away day in Dawlish!
Next month we will be publishing the third edition of Sport Tourism Development by James Higham and Tom Hinch. Sarah is our resident sports enthusiast and often manages to catch a game of something when travelling (whether that be for work or leisure!) In this post we chat to Sarah about her own experiences of sport tourism.
Which different sports have you seen when travelling?
Cricket, football, baseball, basketball, American football, ice hockey, lacrosse
What was your favourite/least favourite experience of sports tourism?
Any game with an exciting finish stands out – I managed to get to the Big Bash semi-final this year in Adelaide pre-CAUTHE conference where the Strikers won in the last over. Other memorable occasions are England holding on to draw with South Africa in a Test in Cape Town and the Red Sox winning at Fenway with a grand slam in the 8th innings!
I think I need to stop watching England in Australia as they’ve lost every time (apologies to England fans!) – never an enjoyable experience to lose to the Aussies.
Red Sox game at Fenway
Test match in Cape Town
Big Bash semi-final
Do you notice a difference in the experience of watching sports depending on the country or is there a universal atmosphere?
I think sport fans worldwide are pretty similar, though there are always traditions or superstitions specific to an area/team/sport.
An NFL game was the only live experience that took me by surprise – and seemed quite different from other sport I have watched. Every single thing that happened in the game seemed like a fanfare event. Though I have been reliably informed that if I want to experience real American football then I need to go and watch a college game.
What would be your dream destination/sports experience combination?
Melbourne is pretty much a sport fan’s dream city so I’d have to say being there for the whole duration of the Big Bash, in an Ashes year, and a ticket to the Australian Open. If it could somehow be arranged for some Premier League games to be played there as well that would be perfect! 🙂
For more information about Sport Tourism Development please see our website.
We recently published the second edition of Tourism Ethicsby David A. Fennell. In this post David answers a few questions about the field of tourism ethics and his work within it.
How did you first become interested in studying tourism ethics and why do you believe it’s such an important field of study?
I would go to conferences in the early 1990s and colleagues would ask me if I thought ecotourism was the most ethical form of tourism. I would respond by saying “yes”, but these responses were based solely on intuition. At the time, we did not have any empirical or philosophical yardsticks from which to understand the place and value of ethics in tourism. I had some excellent conversations with my colleague, David Malloy, when I was at the University of Regina. David was studying sport ethics at the time. These conversations led to four publications on ecotourism and ethics with David during the mid-to-late 1990s, which provided the foundation for me to venture more deeply into the realm of ethics.
It’s been 11 years since we published the first edition of Tourism Ethics. What can we expect from the second edition?
The new edition has more of a focus on contemporary philosophers such as Virginia Held, Jürgen Habermas, and Emmanuel Levinas. Several dozen tourism papers and books were also summarized to bring the tourism studies component up-to-date. The book continues to focus on many deep theoretical contributions that range from biology to philosophy. It’s only through an appreciation of the importance of these works on human nature that we will begin to better understand the nature of tourism and of tourists, in my opinion.
Where do you see the field heading in future?
The tourism ethics sub-field is evolving quickly. Over the course of the last 11 years, I have seen much more of a focus on interpreting and contextualising the work of seminal philosophers in the tourism studies arena. The trick will be to determine how these important works translate into practical wisdom, as tourism is very much an applied field. So, areas such as responsible tourism, fair trade, sustainable tourism, and ecotourism may be enriched through the discourse on ethics. For too long we have focused on impacts in tourism studies to the exclusion of other worldviews. I see ethics as more of a proactive way of fixing tourism industry problems, and impacts as more reactive.
What’s the favourite place that you’ve travelled to in the course of your research?
Given my interests in nature, it’s hard not to pick New Zealand. For me it’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I also really enjoy spending time in Croatia because of the mix of culture and nature.
Closer to home, I really enjoy the Haliburton Sustainable Forest (Ontario), which is Canada’s first certified forest. The HSF has a 100-year management plan to bring the forest back into a balanced ecological state. I don’t know too many companies, private or public, that look so far into the future.
What books – either for work or for pleasure – are you reading at the moment?
For work, I’m just finishing Bauer’s book on sustainability ethics. And for pleasure, I have The Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee on my Christmas list.
For more information about the second edition of Tourism Ethics, please see our website.
This month we are publishing the second edition of Quantitative Methods in Tourism by Rodolfo Baggio and Jane Klobas. In this post Rodolfo answers a few questions about the book and the work of a tourism academic.
It’s been six years since we published the first edition of Quantitative Methods in Tourism. What can we expect from the second edition?
First of all let me say that I’ve been quite surprised and amazed to see that our little work received so much attention as to deserve a second edition. We (my coauthors and I) are very grateful to the readers and to find out that our idea of providing a “practical” handbook has worked well. In this edition we have essentially done two things. One has been (rather obviously) to amend the little inaccuracies or errors that inevitably escape in a work like this one, even after a good number of checks. Then we have improved and updated examples and references and added some new materials on data screening and cleaning, the use of similarity and diversity indexes, path modelling and partial least squares, multi-group structural equation modelling, common method variance, and Big Data.
What is the collaborative process like between you both?
For this book (as for the previous edition), after having agreed on the topics to include, we split them based on our expertise and interests so that each one of us wrote the different pieces, then we swapped the chapters and cross checked all the materials.
What is the most rewarding and most difficult thing about writing a book?
The most rewarding thing is for sure the moment in which you get the book in your hands. The most difficult (probably better to say tedious, tiring or grim) comes when you have finished writing and you have to start checking, refining, correcting, reworking, etc.
As a tourism academic, what’s the favourite place that you’ve travelled to in the course of your research?
Contrary to what many might think, working in tourism, whether as an academic or industry practitioner, does not necessarily mean travelling. There are hotel employees that have never seen places different from their hotel or teachers that have never been in a city different from the one in which they give classes. I have been privileged and, due to personal attitude and life chances, have so far had an incredible number of possibilities to travel to many parts of this planet. I do not have a favourite place. All are interesting and exciting in one way or another. Probably my truly favourite place is one (and there are many) in which I have not yet been.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing books?
Well, not being a writer most of my life is spent NOT writing books, so I do what anyone else does. Personally I enjoy reading, walking around, listening to good music, travelling and so on. But I also very much enjoy studying and researching new avenues for the difficult work of understanding a complex and complicated domain such as the tourism one.
For more information about this book, please see our website.
In February we welcomed Alice to the Channel View/Multilingual Matters team as our publishing intern. In this post we find out a bit more about her and what she gets up to in the CVP/MM office.
What attracted you to the internship initially?
I had been thinking a lot about academic publishing and was really keen to gain some experience and discover if it was for me. After spending a lot of time googling various companies and positions, and how I could get involved, I stumbled across the internship with Channel View. This seemed perfect for various reasons. Firstly, I loved that fact that it was with a small company, where I could hopefully gain a better understanding of how everything worked. The topics of publication also drew me in – especially as I am currently undertaking a TEFL course, which many of the books relate to. Furthermore, the company is based in my favourite city (Bristol), the role seemed varied and interesting, and I felt that the 6 month length would be sufficient to really get involved.
Is it what you expected? Has anything surprised you about publishing?
I’ve always found it hard to imagine how everything works in publishing, so it was difficult to know exactly what to expect. It’s so interesting to see how everything is run and to see each step from the proposal of a book, to its production, completion and marketing. One thing that I found surprising – or impressive – is how small the Channel View office is and yet how much seems to get done and so smoothly. I’m also amazed at how much travelling is involved – someone always seems to be jetting off somewhere exotic to a conference!
What does your day-to-day job involve?
The first and foremost thing that I do in my day is to check the info box and reply to any emails. This is the main email address for Channel View/Multilingual Matters and so it can receive a variety of emails from people all over the world. The most common emails that I receive are from lecturers requesting inspection copies of books to review for courses that they are running. In this case I check the information that they have sent and arrange for the inspection copy to be sent out to them. Other emails range from queries from prospective authors, people asking to be added to our mailing list, questions about the website and order enquiries. Once I have seen to these, I move on to another task, which can vary depending on what is needed at the time. Examples of what I get up to include completing the CIP data (the bibliographic record created by the Library of Congress for a book prior to its publication) for books that are in production, adding contacts to our database, confirming orders that people have placed online and putting together contracts for authors/editors.
What’s your favourite part of the internship?
Perhaps my favourite thing is that I always seem to be learning and taking on new tasks. Even when responding to emails in the info box, the variety of requests and queries means that there’s often something I haven’t come across before! I especially appreciate being given more responsibility as time goes on, and getting an insight into everyone’s roles and how it all comes together.
Do you prefer ebooks or print books? What are you reading at the moment?
I definitely prefer print books – getting a used book out of the library is the best. At the moment I’m reading ‘A Wild Sheep Chase’ by Haruki Murakami – I find his writing style to be very unique and really enjoy all of his books.
What do you like to do when you’re not in the office?
I grew up in Dorset, going on walks with my parents and spending time by the sea, so I spend a lot of my time outdoors. This naturally fits in with my love of exploring and travelling – I’m always trying to get away to new places and see new things. When I’m not outside I am very happy to be spending my time cooking, seeing friends, felting, reading or doing yoga. I also work part time at a small pub, which is fun and sociable!
This month we are very excited to be publishing the 6th edition of our international bestseller, Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism by Colin Baker and Wayne E. Wright. In this post we interview Colin and Wayne about where it all started, the collaborative process and what the future holds for Foundations…
Q1: Colin, how does it feel to be handing over control of the book to Wayne?
It was a dream come true when Wayne agreed to work with me on the 6th edition of Foundations. Since the 1st edition in 1993, research and writing on bilingualism and bilingual education have mushroomed so much that revising the 2011 5th edition by myself made no sense at all.
Finding somebody with such an extensive knowledge of bilingualism, multilingualism and bilingual education, a broad and international understanding, totally sane and balanced, and much younger than myself was wonderful.
Wayne and I met in Bristol (UK) and instantly found we had very similar ideas about the future and contents of the Foundations book. A close academic and personal friendship became a wonderful part of my life. Within a few hours of meeting, I knew that the future of Foundations was in the best possible hands, and I am enormously grateful to Wayne for taking on this responsibility.
Q2: Wayne, how does it feel to be handed control of the book from Colin?
I read the 1st edition of Foundations as an undergraduate student, and the 2nd and 3rd editions in my graduate programs. Colin’s book inspired me throughout my career as a bilingual teacher, and was a key resource as I began conducting research. I’ve used the 4th and 5th editions in my own courses. I was thrilled when the 4th edition included citations to some of my work, and even more thrilled when I was invited to help update one of the chapters in the 5th edition. Foundations and many of Colin’s other excellent books and articles have been a guiding force for me and so many others in the field for a long time.
Needless to say, it has been a tremendous honor to join with such an esteemed and outstanding scholar as Colin as co-author of this 6th edition. Colin and I had friendly correspondence occasionally by e-mail for many years related to various academic tasks. It was a wonderful experience to finally get to meet him in person in Bristol to discuss our plans for this and future editions. I confess to feeling unworthy of such an important task, but Colin quickly put my fears to rest. Working closely with Colin on this edition has been one of the most enjoyable experiences in my academic career. Colin proved to be a great mentor and friend.
I feel a great sense of responsibility to ensure Colin’s original work remains an influential and beneficial resource for the current and next generations of students and scholars.
Q3: How did the collaborative process work with your being thousands of miles apart in very different time zones?
We both live almost 24/7 on email, and we both tend to answer each other’s emails very quickly. So communication has been highly efficient, focused and ever-friendly. It is also helped by Wayne getting up very early in the morning, and myself working quite late in the evening. So the time zone difference of 5 hours between Purdue and Bangor is hardly noticeable.
Q4: Wayne, was it difficult to take on Colin’s ‘voice’ and maintain the style of the previous editions?
Surprisingly no. Colin’s ‘voice’ is one of the things I have greatly enjoyed in the prior editions. Colin is very good at writing about complex issues in a way that is easy for readers to understand. So I was very accustomed to Colin’s engaging writing style and I suspect it has had a subliminal impact on my own over the years. I found I didn’t need to exert any particular effort to match our styles. In fact, when reviewing our final proofs it was sometimes hard for me to distinguish Colin’s original words from my own additions!
Q5: Did you disagree about anything along the way or did you both have the same ‘vision’ for the 6th edition?
It was really odd, but we always seemed to agree easily and rapidly, mostly because our vision, viewpoints and understandings are so similar. Also, we both have great respect for each other’s strengths, which are often complementary, and we both seem to be good at taking advice from each other and from the many experts who reviewed every chapter.
Q6: What is new in the 6th edition?
Since the 5th edition of 2011, there have been so many new publications and so much research, new ideas and evolving viewpoints that the 6th edition has been thoroughly revised and updated. With students in mind, the 6th edition provides an improved reading experience making a valuable resource for course instructors, professional development providers, study-group leaders and all readers.
Importantly, there are many new and more thoroughly covered topics including: translanguaging; dynamic bilingualism; transliteracy; multiliteracies; superdiversity; bilingual assessment; multilingualism; the nature of bilingual and multilingual identity; bilingualism and economic inequalities and advantages; digital tools for language revitalization; forces, mechanisms and counterweights in building bilingual education systems; recent developments in bilingualism and brain imaging research; bilingualism on the internet and in information technology. There is also a new or greater focus on a variety of instructional approaches and issues, as well as important policy developments in the US context.
To address the large number of citations and references that grew substantially with each edition, over 860 older and redundant citations have been removed. These have been replaced with over 350 citations to more recent research and current developments, most of which have been published after the 5th edition was published in 2011. All demographic and statistical information has been fully updated.
Figures, tables, and text boxes have been reformatted and are now numbered for easy reference. End of chapter recommended readings and study activities have been revised, plus discussion questions and many web resources have been added. We were especially pleased to include for the first time a comprehensive glossary with definitions for bolded key terms that appear throughout the book.
Q7: Which part of the book did you most enjoy working on?
Much has changed in terms of policy in the US and around the world. We enjoyed writing about the end of No Child Left Behind, the beginning of the transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act, and especially about current developments more favourable to bilingual and multilingual education such as the growing number of US states adopting the Seal of Biliteracy, California overturning Proposition 227 through the passage of Proposition 58, the expansion of CLIL across Europe, and developing nations around the world turning to multilingual education as a solution to challenges in providing a basic education for all children.
We also enjoyed revising and adding new end-of-chapter material, thinking of ways the contents of each chapter could be used to engage students in meaningful in-class or online discussions, providing practical ideas for short research activities, and connecting students with real-life examples via the internet.
Q8: Foundations has been hugely successful since the first edition was published in 1993. Why do you think it has been so popular and has continued to sell so well?
In 1993, there was no comprehensive introduction to bilingualism and bilingual education. Mike Grover, the founding father of Multilingual Matters, noticed that Colin’s 1988 book ‘Key Issues in Bilingualism and Bilingual Education’ was selling as a textbook even though it was not written for that purpose. Mike had the vision for an international textbook that was as comprehensive as possible. Colin took the challenge. Then, in the early 1990s, Ofelia García played a key role in broadening Colin’s understanding from the psychological and educational to the sociological and political. She has been central to reviewing the draft of every edition since 1993. The first edition of 1993 and the subsequent editions in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011, sold well particularly in the United States, but also with sales in almost every country of the world. Mike’s vision has been fulfilled.
Some very kind expert reviews have appeared over the years, particularly mentioning the multidisciplinary and international approach, the willingness to provide a balanced and critical view, the attempt to simplify the complexities without losing understanding, and the attempt to write in a relatively simple and straightforward style with international students in mind. These elements seem to be part of the character of the book and have made the book a bestseller.
Q9: Is the 2017 6th edition an ending or a beginning?
Multilingual Matters envisage that the book will go on from strength to strength to at least a dozen editions! Work on the 7th edition begins with the publication of this, the 6th edition. Wayne Wright is now in charge, and the authorship will naturally change to ‘Wright and Baker’.
We are always looking for ideas about new themes, so if you have suggestions, they are very welcome. You could influence the 7th edition and help us move this famous textbook into the next six editions.
Today is a sad but exciting day in the Channel View office as we say goodbye (for now) and good luck to Elinor, who is going on maternity leave. Elinor has been working at Channel View for nearly 12 years and has, amongst many other duties, been responsible for managing this blog since its inception in 2011. In this post, we find out about the work she’s done at Channel View over the past 12 years and what she’s going to miss most about working here.
How has your job changed over time, from when you first started to now?
I started in a 6 month maternity cover position in 2005 and my first role was PA to the sales and marketing department. My main jobs were answering the phone, sending out books and general admin. Over the years I have taken on more responsibilities and I became marketing manager and part of the management team in 2008. Since then Laura and Flo have joined the marketing team and between them will be handling all the marketing while I’m on maternity leave.
What’s your favourite part of your job now?
It’s always lovely to get positive feedback from an author when their book is published and they say how pleased they are with their book and how much they have enjoyed working with us. I also enjoy having personal contact with all of our authors throughout the process and working with them to market their book.
What are you happiest to be handing over?
I find the twice yearly catalogues quite time-consuming, especially if it’s a busy time of year, so I won’t miss working on those. I will also be happy not to be dealing with the daily deluge of emails which come flooding in!
Any top tips for a new marketeer?
It’s always great to encourage authors to get really involved with the marketing of their book. Some of our most successful titles are ones where the authors have had great ideas and utilised their own networks and contacts to market the book as well as using social media to get the word out to their colleagues. However, I’m sure that the marketing will be in capable hands with Laura and Flo while I’m away and that they don’t need any tips!
What will you miss most about the office?
I will miss our Friday lunches and all the gossip from the office! But hopefully I will manage to pop in and catch up with everyone while I’m on maternity leave. Some of us have worked together for over 11 years so it will be very odd not to see everyone every day. I will miss the conversations about The Archers, orienteering, Manchester United, the royal family, cake, netball, Disney films and Dawlish which are all important topics in the Channel View office!
We’ll miss you! Good luck and make sure you pop in to visit us soon!
This month we published Maintaining Three Languages by Xiao-lei Wang which explores her experience of bringing up teenagers multilingually. We asked Xiao-lei a few questions about her book.
What makes your book different from others that have been published before?
There are numerous ways in which my new book differs from other books currently on the market. Due to space limit, I will only mention a few here.
Unlike most parenting advice books, in which parents tend to be treated as passive readers and are rarely provided with access to original sources, this book takes a different approach by considering parents as active and intelligent readers. To this end, parents are provided with original research sources; references and further readings are suggested at the end of each chapter for those interested in pursuing the topics discussed. In the same vein, some jargon and technical terminologies regarding multilingualism are deliberately introduced to empower parents to access research literature directly if they wish to do so. When jargon and technical terms are introduced, they are explained in simpler language.
This book does not consider adolescents’ multilingual development as an isolated linguistic phenomenon; rather, it addresses multilingual development concurrently with other aspects of adolescent life such as biological, cognitive, and social development. The purpose is to encourage parents to consider taking a holistic approach that aims to cultivate a whole person rather than just a multilingual person.
This book addresses the impact of multilingual family welfare, a topic that has been largely neglected in the published literature. Parents from multilingual families often come from different cultural backgrounds. As a result, the multilingual childrearing process may affect the coherence and well-being of multilingual families. Practical strategies are provided to help parents be mindful of family well-being.
This book includes practical and easy-to-use language and literacy measures that parents can use to better understand their teen’s multilingual development of words, grammar and language production. By understanding their teen’s current heritage-language development levels, parents can focus on the areas in which their teen needs more support.
This book is written in a reader-friendly style with a balance of scholarly rigor and reader accessibility. To increase readers’ enjoyment, I have included many interesting and meaningful personal anecdotes. Parents will probably enjoy a book with real-life anecdotes more than a dry advice book that presents information out of context.
How will your readers find your book useful?
Readers may find my book useful in the following areas:
Because this book is rooted in my own child and adolescent rearing experiences in the everyday context, parents can easily relate to what I discussed in the book.
The practical strategies I proposed in the book can be implemented easily by parents. In addition, these strategies are based on research and personal practice.
This book provides parents a platform on which they can reflect on their own multilingual childrearing practice.
The book empowers parents by showing them that although multilingual childrearing is challenging, it is possible with the right strategies and support.
Was it difficult writing about your own children?
Not at all! On the contrary, I found that writing about my children has been the most enjoyable writing experience in my academic career. When writing other books or research articles, I can, once in a while, feel bored. This never happened when I wrote about my own children. In a way, this is natural: what can be more engaging when a mother writes about her own children, who are such an important part of her life?
What’s the most important advice you would offer to parents of multilingual teenagers?
To support adolescent multilingual development, I consider the following strategies crucial:
Raising a happy teen is more important than raising a multilingual teen. Thus, taking a holistic approach in promoting teens’ social, cognitive, and identity development should be a priority.
Parents need to change their roles from manager of their children’s lives to their consultants.
Set up realistic and achievable goals together with your teens about their multilingual development. Empower them by letting them be a part of the decision-making process involving their own multilingual development.
What are the advantages of growing up multilingual?
Research has shown that there are more advantages than disadvantages to being multilingual.
Cognitive and Academic Advantages
Multilinguals tend to be better at problem solving, because tackling a problem successfully requires focusing on some aspects of the information and ignoring the others (selective attention).
Multilinguals may possess an added mental flexibility and creativity because they regularly switch between different languages (mental flexibility).
Multilinguals tend to have more than one set of cultural tools with which to interpret the world. These tools can foster competent behaviors in multiple cultures. For instance, an individual who has extensive knowledge and experiences in cultures A and B may be able to retrieve ideas from cultures A and B spontaneously, place them in juxtaposition, and integrate the two into a novel idea through creative insight. This process is referred to as novel conceptual combination.
Multilinguals have an advantage in knowledge transfer from their different languages. Compared with monolinguals, multilinguals can benefit greatly from knowledge acquired in their multiple languages to enrich their learning and understanding.
Proficiency in more than one language has been shown to be associated with high academic achievement. Individuals who have the ability to switch between two or more languages also exhibit higher cognitive functioning than those who abandon one of their heritage languages. Research shows that when children were encouraged to further develop their home language, the skills they built in that language helped their mainstream language literacy development. In fact, the longer children receive reinforcement in their home language, the better they learn their mainstream language.
Multilingual individuals tend to have a metalinguistic advantage when compared to their monolingual counterparts. They are more sanative about the language phenomenon in their ambient languages.
They have more linguistic resources available to them.
The multilingual faculty also facilitates new language learning. This is perhaps because multilinguals are more experienced language learners who have potentially developed more language learning strategies than monolinguals and have a larger linguistic and intercultural repertoire at their disposal.
In having knowledge about their heritage language(s), children and adolescents have an advantage in accessing their heritage culture and communicating with their heritage family. Research suggests that children who speak their parents’ heritage language(s) enjoy better relationships with their families and are less likely to be alienated from their parents and relatives.
Multilinguals have the privilege of accessing different sources of information and they can read books and newspapers, as well as watch news and films, in several languages. This makes them more versatile and helps them to approach things from multiple perspectives.
Moreover, multilingualism can increase a person’s social circle to include friends from many parts of the world. When travelling to another country, being able to speak the language really helps bring people together and facilitates communication, exchange and socialization.
Being multilingual has career advantages as well. In the increasingly globalized world, multilinguals have a competitive advantage in the job market.
Research has shown that people who are proficient in their heritage language tend to have higher self-esteem, are more confident in achieving goals, feel they have more control over their lives, and have more ambitious plans for the future.
Given all the advantages mentioned above and many others that I have not mentioned, it is definitely worthwhile to raise multilingual children and adolescents. As Stephen Krashen, an expert in second language learning, commented, “Heritage language development appears to be an excellent investment. For a small effort…the payoffs are enormous.” Another well-known multilingual expert, Colin Baker, also echoed that multilingualism has more advantages than drawbacks.
However, I would like to caution that multilingualism affects individuals differently. Some multilinguals may develop particularly strong intellectual and linguistic abilities as a byproduct of multiple language leaning and use. Other multilinguals may have relatively weaker abilities in their respective languages because input in or exposure to each language is not evenly distributed. It is important to have a realistic view of multilingual effects and understand that there is no guarantee that being multilingual will result in benefits that are associated with multilingualism as described above, nor does it suggest that multilingualism is the cause of all the problems. Thus, not all multilinguals will function superbly or equally well; rather, the multilingual effects on an individual depend on many complex factors, including the individual child or adolescent’s sociolinguistic environments, parental support, aptitude, motivation and personality.
What is your next research project?
I have several projects in progress. For example,
Multilingual children’s figurative language development (such as idioms)
Multilingual children’s syncretic language use
In addition, I plan to write a comprehensive handbook on multilingual children and adolescents, tentatively titled Everything You Want to Know about Bilingual and Multilingual Childrearing.