Evaluating multicultural Sweden’s support for balanced bilingualism among children of immigrants: Best in Europe or just best on paper?
Memet Aktürk-Drake, Centre for Research on Bilingualism, Stockholm University
Several international surveys show that Sweden has had the most inclusive integration context in Europe for immigrants since the mid-1970s. One of the original goals of Sweden’s multicultural language policies was balanced bilingualism. I will offer a critical evaluation of Sweden’s policies by drawing on data on adult second-generation Turks in Stockholm from the project The Integration of the European Second Generation and by comparing Stockholm with Rotterdam and Berlin. The focus will be on self-reported speaking and writing skills in Turkish and the respective second languages. The results show that only a minority of the second-generation Turks in Stockholm reported balanced skills in both their languages because the Swedish skills were uniformly very high while the Turkish skills displayed only a moderate level. The comparison of the three cities suggests that the inclusiveness of the integration context has a positive effect on second-language skills while the size of the Turkish group in the city has a positive effect on Turkish skills. The emerging pattern is that the lowest portion of balanced bilinguals is ironically found in Stockholm. However, when the skill levels of the bilinguals in both their languages are considered, Stockholm displays the highest total skill level.
Assessing the linguistic competence of bilingual children: Recommendations and Applications
Napoleon Katsos, Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge
Given that the number of children being raised bilingually in the UK is large and growing, assessing a bilingual child’s language competence is of interest to many parents, educators, speech and language therapists and other professionals working with bilingual children. In this presentation I will briefly review the latest version of the guidelines for bilingual language assessment set by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and I will present a set of pilot studies about a particular set of vocabulary, quantifier words, which has the potential to function as a cross-linguistically valid measure of a child's language development.