Tips and Tricks for Bilingual Parents

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Tips and Tricks for Bilingual Parents

Successful strategies

Several strategies have been tried by many families over the past centuries and are well researched regarding their effectiveness.  Please discuss the following strategies with all family members (including grandparents, brothers, sisters etc.) and find a joint decision. It is advisable to stick to one strategy as early as possible in the child’s life:

One Person – one language Each parent speaks with the child in his/her language. The child is able to develop a “single-language” relationship to each parent.
Minority language at home Both parents speak their joint minority language at home and the child learns the majority language away from home.

If you decide to speak the minority language at home, but not in public, your child might feel that this language is not being good enough to be spoken in public. This may affect the child’s identification with the minority language. Trust multicultural Australia’s ability to deal with many languages.

Both parents – both languages Parents chose the language according to their needs. As the majority language is heard and spoken everywhere else, we recommend speaking the minority language at home, and as much as possible in other places.
Minority language is only spoken occasionally The minority language is only spoken at special occasions, at certain times and/or special places.
This strategy makes a good start to (re-)introduce the minority language to a child who already speaks the majority language.

If you meet with speakers of another than your language, explain that you speak to your child in the family language. You can ask the people involved whether they would like you to repeat what you and your child said in English.