Bilingual Education in Latvia
A person is said to be bilingual when he can speak two languages fluently in most situations, changing topics freely from one language to another. According to the present situation in Latvia, the necessity of introducing the bilingual education has arisen. But the term bilingual education is regarded as a very simple definition to a rather more complicated process. This is not just a second language learned at a more advanced level. Bilingualism cannot be achieved by increasing of the amount of the Latvian language lessons, because the students are not expected to learn only grammar and literature, but they are supposed to use the language in all aspects of life. Thus the essay deals with the main two points on bilingualism: the way of teaching the Latvian language and the way of keeping the national identity of minorities intact.
Starting from the latter, some words about the present circumstances in our state should be said. Today 22 per cent of Latvians can speak Russian fluently, and 44 per cent are said to speak it very well. (Lars Holmes and others, Bilingvālā izglītība, p.15.) In comparison with the minor nationalities (mostly Russians), 14 and 40 per cent are said respectively to be able to speak Latvian.…