Majority Learners Acquiring a Minority Language in a Bilingual Community

By Chantal Mayer-Crittenden and Manon Robillard.

Published by The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 18, 2014 $US5.00

Children who learn a language in a linguistic minority context often have limited opportunities to use it outside the home and school. This is the case for English speaking children who learn French in Northern Ontario, Canada, where the majority language is English. However, these children learn their native language without great difficulty. At the outset, different linguistic contexts in which both majority and minority language learners dwell will be examined for a comparison. Very little research has demonstrated how bilingual English-French children learn French as a second language (L2) in an English dominant context. It is important to specify that these children are not learning French in an immersion program but rather through a French school system. Parents chose to enroll their children in French schools in order to provide them with the opportunity to become bilingual, even though they themselves often only speak English. An ethnolinguistic practical model has been proposed for empirical validation to better account for the individual and societal influences on second language acquisition in a bilingual community.

Keywords: Majority Language, Minority Language, Bilingualism

The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies, Volume 11, Issue 2, April 2014, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 18, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 575.309KB)).

Dr. Chantal Mayer-Crittenden

Assistant Professor, Speech and Language Pathology Programs, Department of French Studies, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Chantal Mayer-Crittenden is a Speech and Language Pathologist and associate professor in the Speech and Language Pathology Program at Laurentian University, Sudbury, Canada. She has a special interest in primary language impairment (PLI), interdisciplinary research and bilingualism. Her PhD thesis, which was successfully defended in April 2013, in the Interdisciplinary Human Studies program at Laurentian University, was entitled: "Second Language Learning for Majority-Language children in a Minority Context: Language Impairment or typical second language development?". This thesis examined the linguistic and cognitive abilities of bilingual children with a PLI. She has presented at the international level on this topic. Further, she is also working on a minor component related to interdisciplinary studies in the field of communication sciences and disorders.

Dr. Manon Robillard

Assistant Professor, Speech Language Pathology Programs, Faculty of Professional Schools, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Manon Robillard is currently an assistant professor for the Speech-language Pathology program at Laurentian University in Ontario, Canada. She is also a speech-language pathologist with 14 years of clinical experience in childhood communication disorders. Manon is a doctoral candidate in the interdisciplinary Human Studies program at Laurentian University. Her current research interests involve the relationship between cognition skills and young children’s language abilities. She is also studying the benefit of a cognitive linguistic approach to the treatment of primary language impairments. She is also interested in the impact of bilingualism on cognitive and language skills. She has a variety of speaking engagement experience including at Intenational conferences.