Argument: Official English impairs student retention of first language

Issue Report: English as US official language


Mei-Yu Lu. “English-Only Movement: Its Consequences on the Education of Language Minority Children.” ERIC Digest. 1998: “Wong-Fillmore also noted a quick shift in language use in home and at school among language minority children, especially the younger ones, in the United States. She argues that children lose their mother tongue at a far higher rate than they learn their second language (Wong-Fillmore, 1998); this phenomenon, she further explains, is one in which “learning a second language means losing the first one” (Wong-Fillmore, 1991b). In an immersion program, where English is the only instructional language, the children are at a greater risk of losing their mother tongue before they have fully mastered their second language. As education in the United States has traditionally been verbocentric (Leland & Harste, 1994), with language as the dominant way of learning and teaching, the limited language skills these children possess, either in their mother tongue or a second language, are unable to support their learning.”