But it’s good for us, right?

Alison in Wonderland, Observant, Maastricht

Last week the late-night talk show Pauw & Witteman had a segment on language policy. Usually I can’t watch things like this. Watching journalists (or worse, politicians) try to talk linguistics makes me throw things at the TV. After all, it’s thanks to journalists that I’m known – among a niche crowd, admittedly – as the researcher according to whom ‘a new variety of English has emerged, het Nederengels’ (don’t get me started). The P&W debate featured the Amsterdam lawyer Nazmi Türkkol calling for the children of immigrants to receive language classes in their mother tongue. Rightly, he said that this has demonstrable benefits. Unfortunately, he claimed the government is therefore obliged to provide – and pay – for it. If only it were true that the government is obliged to pay for everything it knows is good for us…

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3 thoughts on “But it’s good for us, right?

  1. Well, maybe not obliged, but we need something like this urgently in Germany. Not for every language and everywhere, but it could certainly be provided for those from more numerous communities. Probably not for, say, Tagalog. And it would make so much economic sense. If kids from families where the local language (Dutch, German, …) is not spoken at home would then also get Dutch etc instruction as a foreign language we could make so much of a difference. But certainly, more initiative from the immigrant communities in this question would also go a long way.

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  2. Hi Robert, thanks for your comment. Kids from immigrant families definitely should get classes in e.g. German as a second language. Is that the case in Germany now, or are they just expected to pick up German in the regular classroom?

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  3. I have my children receive language classes in their mother tongue, because I personally think it will benefit them. I don’t expect the Australian Government to pay for those though! It is my choice to live in Australia and my job as a parent to make sure my children get the best. They did supply (and thus pay) for extra English support in their local primary school, which I appreciated greatly.

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