In "Trilingualism," Judith Baker, a high school English teacher at a large technical school in Boston, unveils strategies she has appointed to help her students understand respect for their home language, while supporting their writing and speaking abilities in many ways.
The whole idea that Judith Baker’s had in “Trilingualism” is based on the different types of English’s students speak in different environments. Which she states are home, formal, and professional. She is trying to relate her students to the numerous ways. Which is perfect for high school teachers to do because it shows students where to use each type of English in various situations. Through various experiments that cause them to look at and consider the language they use, Baker helps her students understand the difference between the language used for home, academics, and the professional world. Which I think is actually helpful due to the fact that I can relate in many ways. Baker uses her classroom to teach why it is important to be able to speak in different dialects and how each student can use “Trilingualism” in their own way.
Baker describes the first language is the type of speech you hear being used at home. The “Home” language develops due to a person's environment and the individuals around them from their house hold. That also depends on how they were raised to speak it. In her words home English is “What most students learn at home, and most immigrants often learn from peers, and for first and second immigrants may be a combination of English and their mother tongue.” For example, now that I think about it, it is actually true for me that I talk different at home because my home language is Spanish. Baker explain that she is trying to separate this form of language from being used outside of student’s homes. Her goal is to demonstrate, that it is not appropriate to speak that way in certain situations or places and how different it sounds compared to “formal” and “professional” English.
The second type of language is the "formal" English. This form of English is taught and spoken in school, can be learned from media or by readings. When speaking in a classroom you already know to speak formal, especially to your teachers. Formal English is a way of speaking that you usually use when you don't know the people listening to you very well. She shows us how important this is in the students’ making the decision for them to learn standard English. Baker is telling us that it is beneficial to support and accept students' language and culture while also encouraging them to learn formal English. You also tend to use it more with people who are higher status and who you want to impress. For example, through the activities, she is allowing the students to see the importance of standard English and their own social way of speaking in the world. Instead of her just telling them, “You need to learn standard English.” I think the students took an interest in it because their thoughts and opinions were validated. I strongly believe this is what encouraged them to participate in her activities instead of not wanting to. This was allowing them to view how their fellow classmates were reacting. I liked that the exercises taught them that there is more than just “proper English” and bad English. It allowed them to see how you can use “formal” English in certain situations. Students are also introduced to the fact that different areas require a different way of spoken English.
Lastly, the "professional" type of English is used in professional career setting. This type of speech could also be seen on job interviews. Each individual uses these different types of English language depending on the situation and the people present. We change our way of speaking so often we are sometimes