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?
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
A brief announcement that on Thursday, October 27, I will be returning to the Jacaranda Tree Montessori in Amsterdam, for an open seminar "Raising Bilingual Children: Six building blocks for success". This is my most popular seminar, and mainly given at schools, so an open event is rare! In the two-hour session we will look … Continue reading Raising Bilingual Children: Parent seminar (Amsterdam)
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?
This post was inspired by a reader question, and fits well with the theme of the month, so I am putting my thoughts in a post. This family is from the Middle East, and has Arabic and English as the two languages in their language plan. They began their family in the Middle East and … Continue reading When the Mother Tongue becomes a minority language: Changing your family plan
Last night I had the pleasure of spending the evening with a very diverse group of parents. All of them had children who will grow up with two languages, and many had children growing up with three or more languages. A few of the families are lucky enough to have multilingual partners, who speak … Continue reading Whole-family support for (very minor) minority languages
Over the last decade or so, the OPOL method of raising bilingual children has gotten a lot of positive press. It sounds pretty simple - One parent, one language. So I speak French to my kids and my husband speaks English to them, and they will grow up bilingual. Sounds easy, yes? But the reality, … Continue reading Being an OPOL family – guarantee of success?