Regional Variation Essay

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According to George Yule, in his book The Study of Language, regional variation is not only a matter of two or more dialects of a single language, but it can also involve two or more different languages within the same country. The author takes Canada as an example of a bilingual country, where both French and English are official languages. Yule mentions that Canada is essentially an “English-speaking country, with a French-speaking minority group”, which needs to learn English in order to participate in the larger dominant linguistic community. This state of knowing two distinct languages is known as bilingualism. However, bilingualism can also be the result of children who are born of parents who speak different languages. It is the aim…show more content…
In a mixed nationality marriage, the child simultaneously acquires the language spoken by her mother and the language spoken by her father. By means of this systematic strategy, children can acquire two languages from birth at the same time even though one language may be more dominant than the other. They may usually employ one language at home and the other one may be spoken at school or in the community. In general, all bilingual children grow up to perform in their dominant language , which is the medium of instruction at school. Spolsky mentions that children growing up bilingually not only manage to keep the two languages separate, but they also learn which language to use to which person. In fact, the phenomenon of code-switching demonstrates that every time children alternate between the two languages, they are clearly keeping their languages apart. These children are expected to develop a mixed code for many reasons. One of the main causes has to do with the fact that they may strategically code-switch when they need to fill a linguistic need because they do not know a word in one language, such as “rica food”, or there is no direct translation. They may also switch between languages in order to have stronger bonds with their family or their friends. For instance, a bilingual child who knows English and Spanish may be able to bond with his grandparents who speak mainly Spanish and establish a relationship with English and Spanish

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