When people find out that I am encouraging my son to be multi-lingual (so far, English, French and hopefully Spanish), they usually applaud my efforts. They don’t know how successful (or unsuccessful) I might be in actually accomplishing my goal, but they typically quote statistics about how children are more likely to master a language if they are exposed to it early in life. They might also point to studies that show mastery of another language actually improves students’ performance in English.
That is why I am always surprised – and disappointed – to hear people express negative opinions on families who speak Spanish at home. Instead of applauding their efforts (the way mine are), people condemn them. I won’t pretend to be an expert on why this double-standard exists but I am hopeful that the more we think about – and draw attention – to these double standards, the better our chances of eradicating them entirely.
OK, off my soapbox now.