Nothing wrong with bilingualism

Bilingualism is not a problem but an advantage, Nadia Eversteijn (Humanities) argues in the conclusions of her PhD research.

In her research, Eversteijn has focused on the bilingual Turkish youth. Which language do they prefer to use if they talk to family of friends?  In which language do they read, or watch television? She learnt that those who have mastered the Turkish language better are also better at speaking Dutch. Similarly, those with more interest in their own culture, are more interested in Dutch culture.

It follows that bilingualism should be better accepted, Eversteijn states. “In today’s society, foreigners are offered a choice: either you speak your own language, or Dutch. But this is an impossible choice to make for people who have two cultural backgrounds. Their dual identity is what defines them”

Moreover, their parents, who usually hardly speak any Dutch, should not try to do so when they talk to their children. “This will give the wrong example. It will not help these children at all to get better at speaking Dutch. These parents should talk in the language they speak best, since that will contribute to their children’s sense of language most effectively.”

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