7 reasons to turn outdoor devices to the minority language

This week, I took my eldest for a tête-à-tête lunch at McDonald’s as a half-term treat.  And when I least expected it, I faced an interesting bilingual option I had never thought of before.  

See, we ordered at one of the self-checkout terminals and I noticed for the first time (mind you, we do not often eat there 😉 ) it had many language options, including our 2 minority languages.  As quick as a flash, I opted for English. From my eldest’s stare, I could tell she had spotted my manoeuvre. But never mind, every little bit of minority language exposure is good enough for me! Especially now that she is a reader.

What’s so good about turning this point of sale’s language to the minority language? Well consider all these little pros:

  1. It shows that the minority language exists outside of home – giving it some sort of social significance. It takes the minority language beyond the limit of the home and family ambit.
  2. It contributes to resisting the crushing influence of the Majority Language – Okay, it is a tiny minority language dwarf in front of the huge Majority Language giant, but here it stands, as a reminder that it also exists.
  3. It tops-up our vocabulary with words we do not get to use at home-  For instance: “Eat in”, which I have probably not used since I left the UK.
  4. It provides a little extra minority language reading  – For sure it is not much, but I am a firm believer that every little helps.
  5. It can get a translation discussion started – Some devices’ translation might not be top-notch, but never mind because this can still give rise to a discussion with your child and making them think about how it should be and/or teaching them the art of translation (which ain’t always natural to kids).
  6. It makes the minority language even more part of the child’s life, regardless of the place.
  7. It makes multilingual look normal – otherwise, why would this device offer language options? 😉

It might not seem much, but in bilingual education and fighting off the influence of the Majority Language, I take it any time!

It had never crossed my mind before but I will do the same next time I use my supermarket self-checkouts, which I have noticed to be bilingual English-French though it had never occured to me switching its language.


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