An American woman living in Japan described in an article on bilingual education the radically different meaning of the English word "bilingual" versus its Japnese equivalent bairingaru.
Listening to her hairdresser in Japan gush over how wonderful it was that the American educator's children were growing up with two languages, she could not help recalling that just a few weeks earlier she had heard the word "bilingual" used in California to describe children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
The American teacher had homed in on an important but often neglected aspect of language learning,
something called "enabling environment." The simple fact is that English enjoys enormous prestige in Japan. In homes here, adults who have learned English are pointed to as role models for children studying English at schools.