Weekly Digest #36: How to Raise a Bilingual Child?
Three of us have kids, and two of us are raising children bilingually. Today, from our newest Learning Scientist, Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel, we feature 5 resources with information on raising bilingual children.
Last week my husband told me a funny story about something that happened while he was interacting with our 18 months old son. Before telling you the story, let me provide you with a bit more context. My husband and I are both German and we live in Scotland. We raise our son bilingually. At home, we speak exclusively German to each other and to him. At nursery, our son is exposed to English (with a splash of Scottish, of course). Our son is starting to produce his first words now and it is an exciting time for us. We have noticed that he is increasingly understanding more and more things we tell or ask him. So, now back to the funny story. The other day my husband was showing our son an egg and was explaining to him in German that this is an egg (the German word for egg is Ei and it is pronounced eye). Then he asked him in German where the egg is and our son pointed to his own eye. When my husband told me the story, I started to think more about what other bilingual families do and what research would suggest. Here are some useful resources with information on raising bilingual children.
This website contains loads of research-based information and resources on bilingualism for parents. You can find brief summaries of research findings or ongoing studies and even sign up to participate in studies. There is also a frequently asked questions section which I find useful and information leaflets for parents. Bilingualism Matters has expanded since its foundation in 2008 and has many branches across Europe and the USA.
2) Life as a Bilingual, Psychology Today Blog by Prof. François Grosjean and Prof. Aneta Pavlenko
This blog highlights a variety of research findings on bilingualism. If you have a question regarding bilingualism and need to know if there is scientific evidence for it, you are likely to find an answer on this blog. Prof. François Grosjean is renowned for his research in bilingualism and has his own website where you can find even more answers to questions you might have. Carolina personally finds his post about Myths in Bilingualism interesting.
This blog focuses more on hands-on recommendations on how to raise bilingual children. The posts contain useful tips that you can try out at home right away. For the most part the blog is written from a parent’s perspective, which can be refreshing.
4) Raising Bilingual Children: Who Should Speak What? by Kevin M. Wong, @kevinwongnyc
This blog post on “Raising Bilingual Children: Who Should Speak What?” describes six potential bilingual home scenarios that research has identified. It is interesting to see how it is possible to systematically distinguish them and to think about one’s own scenario and its consequences.
5) Interview with Professor Brenda Gorman on “Myths about Bilingual Children”
This short interview summarizes the top four myths when it comes to raising bilingual children. Carolina was told the first one by her health visitor when she came to see us for her son’s 1-year check-up: Language acquisition is delayed in bilingual children. She was glad to learn that this is a myth.
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