Weekly Digest #36: How to Raise a Bilingual Child?

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.

1) Bilingualism Matters, Centre at the University of Edinburgh by Prof. Antonella Sorace, @BilingMatters

Linked source logo

Linked source logo

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.


3) Bilingual Kidspot by Chontelle Bonfiglio, @bilingualkids_

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.

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Fotolia / © imaginando


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. 

Fotolia / © JorgeAlejandro

Fotolia / © JorgeAlejandro


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.

Every Sunday, we pick a theme and provide a curated list of links. If you have a theme suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Our 5 most recent digests can be found here:

Weekly Digest #31: Exercise and Learning

Weekly Digest #32: Evidence-based Learning Strategies for Learning Disabilities

Weekly Digest #33: Teaching Kids about Safety

Weekly Digest #34: Time Management

Weekly Digest #35: Taking Care of Yourself

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