A Child Multilingualism Need at Elementary Level Education: From Parents’ Perspective: Using Domains Theory Approach (A Case of Saaho-Speaking Parents in Senafe Sub-region, Eritrea)

Omer Suleiman Idris


Language need assessment in education is indispensable before step up to language policy panning and formulation, and been said certainly true in decisions concerning the languages of education, and yet the attitudes and opinions of the target groups are crucial in order to determine the success of policy implementation (Monjane, 2009, p.1). One of the most important ways the study attempted to understand language needs at schools was assessing parents’ language needs for their children. The main purpose of the study was to assess the parents’ multi-language needs for their children to learn at elementary schooling framing on those languages articulated in the policy (Mother tongue, Tigrinya, Arabic and English) and emphasizing to mono-linguality trends resulted from sole mother tongue education. Saaho language had taken as mother tongue in this case. Fishman language use domains were used as basis of theme categorization for analysis and the suppositions had drawn to detail the parents’ multilingualism needs. This study had keenly contributed as preliminary information for language policy modification at elementary education since it studies on grass root (children and their parents) needs for language learning at school. The study found that Saaho language is dominantly used in family domain, education domain, and friendship domain. In readings and writing, English was found accompanied with Saaho at school. Arabic is dominantly used at religious domain both in readings, writings, and speaking. The comparison was made between the languages used currently at school by the child with those expected (preferred) by their parents’, and the study found that Tigrinya and Arabic languages were highly preferred by the parents to learn their children at schools, then Saaho and English were preferred subsequently. Considering both the original intention of language policy and the results from the study, the study recommends David Laitin "3 ±1" solution for language learning would be fruitful if it incorporated into elementary level education curriculum.

Keywords: Multilingualism needs, Elementary education, Mother tongue Education, Language Policy, Language use Domains, Fishman, David Laitin.

DOI: 10.7176/JEP/11-2-01

Publication date: January 31st 2020

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