A Myth is Grounded in the Truth
No, not necessarily. Oftentimes they are based on past research that has been shown to have faulty methods or conclusions.
Oftentimes these myths come from not only curious observers on the street, but even from pediatricians and books/websites on bilingualism.
I should preface the section "Myths Surrounding Adult and Childhood Bilingualism" by explaining what has kept me motivated to continue researching the area of teaching your children and yourself a second language. It's the reactions and the myths. When I'm out, I often need to explain that as far as speaking to the kids, my husband speaks English and I speak Portuguese, a language I learned in my 20’s and am still learning.
“Wow, is your Portuguese that good?” (impressed look)
“Hum, okay.” (puzzled tensing of the face)
“Wow” (“that’ll never work” seeps from dubious look)
“What does your husband think about that?” (raised eyebrow)
“Why Portuguese, why not Spanish?” (that know-it-all look often followed by unsolicited advice)
“Too bad my parents didn’t do that with me (wistful look). I only have a little Spanish from high school so my kids are out of luck” (“I blew it” expression, downturned eyes).
For the most part, it's that final reaction-- the downturned eyes-- that prompts me to address the myths and share the results of solid research on raising bilingual children. Kids will benefit, but parents aren't given guidence on what to do.
This results I write up in this wiki are geared specifically to parents interested in raising their children to speak a language that they themselves have learned or are learning to speak.
There is a great amount written on raising bilingual children in general (French parents teaching French to their kids while residing in the US). Some of this information may be included, but this wiki section is specifically for second language speakers of the language or learners of a second language who are interested in raising their children bilingual.
Christine Galbreath Jernigan 09:14, 3 January 2006 (MST)