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  • Writer's picturedrschwank

Multilingualism in family settings

Multilingualism is on the rise, due to intercultural marriages becoming more and more common, in today’s globalized societies. It’s more likely to speak multiple languages at home, which comes with great advantages, but also a couple of challenges. Families dealing with multilingualism at home very differently. Linguistic research has shown great results in language acquisition, if families stick to one parent one language. This is an important aspect, as it shapes situational language use for the child and with time a sense of unconscious habit to speak one language with mommy and another one with daddy. Many parents struggle however, with speaking the non dominant language (meaning the language that isn’t spoken in the society the family lives) consequently. This can cause confusion in the child and also refusal to speak the non dominant language. Since the child feels, that the parent is resistant or uneasy to speak the non dominante language. If you can speak a third neural language and feel comfortable in it, go for it. It can encourage the child to speak the mothers and father’s language, since the dominant language in the country isn’t spoken at home.

Using baby signs, is yet another way of communicating with a multilingual child. It reduces frustration of lack of ability to communicate, particularly when speaking multiple languages at home.

The most important language acquisition support is however, one parent, one language. Try to stick to it as much, as you possibly can.

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