How to plan for a bilingual child?

Date of news: 24 November 2020

Are you or your partner pregnant, and do you speak a different language from each other? Then chances are there’s not just a baby on the way, but a bilingual baby! At least that’s what a lot of parents hope when they find themselves raising a child together with someone who has a different mother tongue. It’s not always clear though what exactly the best approach is in such a situation. Should you both continue to speak your own language, or are there other choices you could make that might lead to better outcomes? What do you do if you don’t understand each other’s languages and speak a third language amongst yourselves? What will your conversations with your future offspring look like? And if you do speak the same language as each other but this is a different language from the one spoken in the community around you — Dutch in the case of families here in the Netherlands —  you may wonder how your child will learn that language properly. In short, then, how do you plan for a bilingual child? Don’t worry if you’ve have already started your parenting journey and are already raising bilingual children, there’s plenty for you in this episode, too.

In this first episode of Kletsheads linguist Sharon Unsworth talks to Eowyn Crisfield about how you and your partner can make a plan for the languages in your family, something that’s often referred to as family language planning. We hear that it’s wise to think about this early on, that it’s necessary to involve all the important people in your child’s life, and that this plan may change over time. Eowyn gives us her six building blocks for success so that you can be sure that there is a bright bilingual future ahead for your child. This episode is mostly intended for parents, but if you’re a speech language therapist, teacher, or other professional working with young families, there’s plenty of useful information in here for you, too.

Follow the link for this episode of Kletsheads

Source: Kletsheads. Photo: Tai's Captures via Unsplash.