Lost In Translanguaging? practices Of Language Promition In Luxembourgish Early Childhood Education, by Sascha Neumann
For those who are not aware, Luxembourg has handled the linguistic diversity of its own culture by adopting a strategy which Luxembourgish is taught in pre-schools as well as in early elementary education with a transition to French and German and often English later on. This particular approach teaches several languages monolinguistically with the aim of leading educated students to having a high degree of fluency in multiple languages by the time they have finished with secondary school and go to universities in neighboring countries. There are risks, though, in having such ambitious linguistic plans for one’s students, and some of those risks come because of the high degree of migrants present in Luxembourgh (making up nearly half of the school-age population) who do not speak Luxembourgish at home and who therefore miss out on the chance to learn an important language that serves as a bridge to other languages and allows for comprehension and communication with others. This article seeks to discuss how it is that a failure to learn Luxembourgish because it is not spoken and reinforced at home sets up immigrant students for failure within Luxembourg’s school system, though it seems churlish to blame the school system for the failure of people to learn national languages when living in a place.
This article seeks to encourage a better understanding of the linguistic complexity of Luxembourg’s educational system by speaking of a problem of translanguaging, where instead of achieving mastery in multiple languages, students without linguistic competence end up speaking several languages poorly and, moreover, speaking non-native languages that are not understood within the nation and looked down upon. The author bemoans the fact that Portuguese is viewed as a low-status language within Luxembourg even if it is very commonly spoken as a language by immigrants from Cape Verde and comments on the language problem for immigrant children as being a means by which these children fail to rise to their supposed potential because they cannot master the trilingual approach that Luxembourg has taken to its complex cultural and historical heritage as being a small buffer state between France and Germany with its own obscure native language. If the author has a lot of complaints about the struggles that people face with the trilingual standard of Luxembourg, there are precious few solutions when linguistic competence is not reinforced within the home.