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Why Don't They Learn English?: Separating Fact from Fallacy in the U.S. Language Debate (Language and Literacy Series) Paperback – September 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0807740965 ISBN-10: 0807740969 Edition: First Printing

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Product Details

  • Series: Language and Literacy Series
  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press; First Printing edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807740969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807740965
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #588,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In clear and elegant prose, Lucy Tse debunks prevalent myths about English-language learning among immigrant children." - Jim Cummins, University of Toronto; "Lucy Tse is among the few to explain the causes and consequences of language loss in human terms. Her perceptive, readable, and thoroughly documented study should be on the bookshelf of every educator of immigrant students." - James Crawford, author of At War with Diversity: U.S. Language Policy in an Age of Anxiety

About the Author

Lucy Tse is an associate professor of education at California State University, Los Angeles. She is co-editor of the book Heritage Language Development and has published widely in the areas of second language acquisition, heritage language learning, and bilingualism and biliteracy.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Leslie R. Wells on February 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
I worked for Dr. Tse years ago, as a graduate assistant, so I'm a little biased.

The first three chapters of this book are the best. Tse presents data to prove that immigrants, in fact, are learning English. Bilingual education doesn't mean that English has to be lost. Nor does it mean that the home language must be abandoned.

It is a quick read, but still packed with information. We use it as a reference tool for arguments regarding bilingual education.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Elisabeth on October 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
A must-read for anyone who works with immigrants or language learners; for bi- or multi-linguals and those considering such for their children; and for anyone who has contributed to the spread of ignorance regarding immigrants, language learning, and bilingualism. (My grandmother will be receiving a copy.) It's an easy and interesting read, touching on a variety of topics and providing an extensive bibliography for those wishing to learn more. Enjoy!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Ellingwood VINE VOICE on December 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very good at addressing the concerns of people who are afraid of the apparent lack of English fluency in immigrant populations. It is also an important resource for those of us trying to explain why those people are wrong.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Segv on January 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
In education, it is said that as goes California, so goes the Nation. This is certainly true in when it comes to the question of language.

The Bilingual Education movement started here, with Lau vs. Nichols being a class action case against the San Francisco school district. California was the first state to mandate bilingual education programs, under the governorship of Ronald Reagan (surprise!). The English-Only movement started here too, with Ron Utz's Proposition 227. The debate was heated and viscous with Utz on one side and researchers like Stephen Kraschen on the other side throwing personal attacks and research that is inaccessible to the general public back and forth to support their positions. Ultimately the voters approved the "English Only" prop 227, and Utz went on to bring similar propositions to other states.

It is unfortunate that the electorate was not well informed by either side in this debate and ultimately made their decisions on an emotional basis.

This book goes a long way to explaining the issues surrounding English Learners, and it is too bad that this was not available at the time of Prop 227. Tse makes the research accessible, and clearly explains the difference between "additive" (English AND your language) and "subtractive" (English INSTEAD OF your language) bilingualism, and the damage to communities and family structure that comes from the latter. She also shows that non-English speaking communities persist not because immigrants refuse to learn English but because they DO learn English, move out of the "ethnic" neighborhoods and are replace by new immigrants from the same cultural background who will eventually learn English as well.

I have read widely on this topic, and this book is one of the most accessible presentations that I have read. I would recommend it to anyone (not just educators) interested in either multiculturalism or language policy.
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