In terms of school experience, there are clearly likely to be significant areas of difference between bilingual and bidialectal students just as there are likely to be key similarities. The bidialectal students whose experiences I shall be describing were, for example, all ‘simultaneous bidialectals’ (as is typically though not inevitably the case), while the bilingual students I have written about were all ‘sequential bilinguals’.1 They were also able to make immediate ‘surface sense’ of the vast majority of their teachers’ instructions, becausein the receptive sense-they were already fluent in the forms of English used by their teachers. Similarly, it was not difficult for them to gain extra guidance if needed from other English-speaking students in the classroom. In common with bilingual students, however, these bidialectal students were, as we shall see, systematically marginalized by a culturally biased school curriculum, imposed by central government, that was outcome-monitored through public tests and examinations and that typically pressed teachers into the service of reproducing and validating dominant cultural forms and values whether they wanted to or not. As with the bilingual students, this essentially curricular marginalization was typically carried out-from a very early age-within the caring, Arnoldean discourse of emancipation-through-education. It did
not confine its marginalizations of such students to matters of the mere mechanics of language (whether, for example, it is preferable to say ‘she and I’ or ‘me and her’) but, as in the case of bilingual students, dealt both with matters of genre (that is to say, one’s manner of presenting and representing the world, whether this be in a work of art or in the writing up of a science experiment) and-even more worryingly-with matters of perception and experience (‘How do I, in the first place, see and experience the world I am [re]presenting?’). It is hardly surprising that young people in these circumstances will often develop poor self-image, including (as we shall see in the first case study) very negative perceptions of themselves as learners and language-users-in the worst cases leading to what Trudgill has referred to as ‘linguistic self-hatred’ (Trudgill 1983, p.209; see also Coard 1971).