One of the most frustrating myths about child bilingualism is that learning a new language is effortless for children - drop them into a new language environment and they just absorb the new language like a sponge! This myth has several negative effects. The first is that parents often don't take into account the time … Continue reading Children are *not* little sponges!
A lot of writing on the Internet will propose OPOL (One-parent, one-language) as the best strategy for raising bilingual children. I've written here before about why I believe this is not the case (although it can work in some situations) and now there is research backing up the limitations of this approach. Follow … Continue reading Issues with OPOL? You are not alone!
A: Absolutely not! I work with a lot of internationally living parents, and this is a common misconception; that it would be more valuable for them to use English with their children, to make sure they have English as a "mother tongue". I've even met families who want me to help them change their … Continue reading Q: Isn’t English more important than my language?
I've been promising for years to write a post about pedagogical translanguaging. In fact, probably about five years! But I always get stuck in the details... I want to present it accurately, and really show how it works. So I created (with the help of Ollydave) this short explainer video, so people can have … Continue reading Wondering about translanguaging?
... the real issue is not whether they should become bilingual, but how to best support them in their life with two or more languages. (E. Kay-Raining Bird) I've written about the topic quite a few times over the years, because it is one that causes parents great concern. It is also a topic where … Continue reading The Perennial question – can children with SEN become bilingual?
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about why "heritage" languages are important, which came out of conversations with families trying to pass on a language with little "usefulness" but great emotional significance. Some of the most emotional stories I've heard over the years have been from adults who should have been raised bilingual, … Continue reading Recovering heritage languages: rediscovering your “whole self”
Obviously this applies to Cantonese-speaking parents... 🙂 but the underlying principle is the same, no matter what your home language is. I've been thinking about this issue since I visited Hong Kong in March, and met with many lovely parents who were all attempting to raise their children to be bilingual. So what's wrong with … Continue reading Please, speak Cantonese to your children!
This is revised from a previous post, and is for all the Dads out there wondering why they are being left out of the party... Traditionally, bilingualism research used the term "Mother Tongue" to describe the language spoken by the mother. Because there is no use of "Father Tongue" there is an implication that the … Continue reading Mother Tongue, Father Tongue?
Our parents are very demanding and want to have a teacher who speaks Oxford English without any accent or so. Reblogging this great post that reflects on the tricky issue of accents - whose is better, whose is worse, and why? And then again, why should it really matter??? Diary of an Imperfect Mum: In 2014 … Continue reading Diary of an Imperfect Mum: In 2014 do accents still really matter?
People (unfortunately, sometimes including specialists) often like to lay the blame for language delays or special educational issues on the doorstep of bilingualism. A child having more than one language is seen, too often, as a "problem" and therefore language is seen as the cause of other "problems". And of course, if bilingualism is the … Continue reading Bilingualism is not the problem if…