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January 22, 2004

Krashen Strikes Back

Just when the debate in the Daily Yomiuri over early bilingual education had seemed to fade away, the paper published another article by Steven Krashen on Tuesday:

Beginning English instruction 'super-early' not really necessary

In my letter of Dec. 2 in The Daily Yomiuri, I argued that parental use of English with their children in Japan was unnecessary, that there could be drawbacks, and that there were easier ways of ensuring high levels of English development. I respond here to several responses to my letter.

I stated that parents' use of a foreign language with their children can backfire when parents do not speak the language well and communication is imperfect. Imperfect parent-child communication can cripple emotional and intellectual development. Marshall R. Childs (Dec. 7) asked if I was saying that language must be grammatically perfect to be effective for communication. No. My concern is the quality of communication. I agree with Mr. Childs that language that others may judge as "imperfect" does not, by itself, cause bad communication.

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