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!
My "Raising Bilingual Children" seminar is one of my favourites; I've been working on it for years, and each family I meet contributes to my understanding on bilingual/multilingual families and adds to my "book learning" and research background. I pack as much good information as possible into the 2-hour session, along with some moments … Continue reading Seminar: Raising bilingual (and multilingual!) children: Six building blocks for success (April 12)
A: This is a tricky question to answer, because parents ask it for different reasons. Some parents ask this question because they have multiple languages in their family/community and are trying to formulate an effective language plan. Other parents ask this because they believe the "children are sponges" myth and want to try and … Continue reading Q: How do we chose which languages to focus on with our child?
Two interesting things happened the other day that led me to reflect on family language planning. The first was seeing a session description on a conference website claiming that the job of "family language advisor" is a new field of work that has developed due to the rise in multilingual families. The second was running … Continue reading Reflecting on Family Language Planning
Next parent seminar in Amsterdam coming up! If you are raising your children with more than one language (or thinking about it), come along and find out the six building blocks for a successful Family Language Plan. This seminar has been developed over a decade of working with bilingual/multilingual families and packs in theoretical background … Continue reading Raising Bilingual (or multilingual!) Children: 6 building blocks for success (May 18)
A different language is a different vision of life. Federico Fellini The vast majority of families I have worked with over the years have been in agreement about the decision to raise their children as bilingual/multilingual. Usually they come to me for family language planning advice because they want to "get it right" and ensure … Continue reading When Family Languages are in Conflict
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”
I feel like I can not be half of myself. I've heard variations of those words so many times over my career as a consultant, from adults all over the world, all referencing the fact that they do not speak the language of one (or both) of their parents. Many of them are children of … Continue reading Keeping the window open: why “heritage” languages are important too
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!
Every family raising bilingual children needs to have, at the very least, one family language plan. Ideally, they should start the planning process at the same time as they start all the other planning for baby preparations - during pregnancy. A family language plan is a longitudinal plan that follows a child from birth (or … Continue reading Family Language Plan: When and why?