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Jack Knox: The value of learning in your mother tongue first – Times Colonist
by ahnationtalk onMarch 24, 2017161 Views
March 24, 2017
Moustapha Fall had an upbringing familiar to a lot of Canadians.
He spoke one language to Mom and Dad at home, then studied in another at school. So while he can understand and speak his parents’ language fluently, he can’t read or write it at all.
With more than one in five Canadians born outside the country, a lot of us can relate.
Except Fall’s story comes not from Canada, but Senegal. At home he spoke Wolof, just like many of the African country’s people, while school was in French. The latter is Senegal’s official language but the mother tongue of just two per cent of its population.
Fall, who teaches applied linguistics in the University of Victoria’s French department, is researching whether the absence of literacy in people’s first language affects their ability to learn in their second.