Raising Multilingual Children

Author: Julia Festman, Gregory J. Poarch, Jean-Marc Dewaele

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Multilingual Matters
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Have you ever been told that raising your child to speak multiple languages will harm their development? Are teachers or other professionals suspicious of your efforts? Are you sometimes unsure if you are helping your child's language development, or are you uncertain where to start? It is increasingly recognised among researchers that, far from harming a child's development, being exposed to multiple languages from birth or early childhood can result in linguistic, creative and social advantages. The authors, all multilinguals themselves, parents of multilingual children, and researchers on language and multilingualism, aim to provide advice and inspiration for multilingual families across the world. The latest research on multilingualism and the authors' own experiences are used to provide a friendly, accessible guide to raising and nurturing happy multilingual children.

The book is successful in clearly communicating the processes involved in multilingual acquisition to readers who might not have a prior knowledge. It is effectively organized in a way that leads readers to understand why it is important to acquire multiple languages, what to expect during this process, and how to assist children to successful acquisition. The cases of the children provide real-life examples to illustrate and simplify concepts such as code switching, cross-linguistic interference, transfer errors and language awareness, which might be foreign concepts to individuals without a background in the field of linguistics. 

LINGUIST List 28.4124

This book is exactly what parents of multilingual children have been looking for: an inspiring, entertaining, and at the same time scientifically accurate account of what it means to raise children with more than two languages. The book is packed with facts, ideas, and advice for parents and it shows both the benefits and the challenges of early multilingualism.

Antonella Sorace, University of Edinburgh, UK

This is the first reader friendly book of advice on trilingual upbringing to appear, illustrated by three case studies from parents who have experienced the tactics that worked and some which backfired. The well-informed, knowledgeable authors provide an excellent balance between fascinating personal anecdotes and serious commentary which includes many tips, practical hints and some warnings on how to cope with the challenges involved.

Hugo Baetens Beardsmore, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

"Raising Multilingual Children" is a great mix of personal advice based on experience, as well as information based on academic research. With examples based on three different family situations, this book makes you realise that there is no "one fit solution" to multilingual parenting. Not all families are the same, therefore you can select and use the information which is relevant to yours.
"Raising Multilingual Children"  It is an informative read for any family who are seeking to raise children with multiple languages.

Bilingual Kidspot blog

Julia Festman works at the Pedagogical University Tyrol, Austria. She is the mother of Aya (12) and Noam (8), and they speak German, English and some Hebrew.

Gregory J. Poarch works at the University of Münster, Germany. He is the father of Loïc (15) who speaks Dutch, English and German.

Jean-Marc Dewaele works at Birkbeck, University of London, UK. He is the father of Livia (20) who speaks English, Dutch, French, some Spanish and some martial art Japanese.


Chapter 1. Ten Good Reasons for Raising a Child with More Than One Language BEFORE Entering School

Chapter 2. The Stories of Our Multilingual Children

Chapter 3. Some Background Information on Learning, Methods and Language Policies, and Suggestions to Ensure Successful Early Multilingual Acquisition

Chapter 4. Developing a Good Language Policy for the Multilingual Family

Chapter 5. How to Foster a Multilingual Home and How to Deal With Some Concerns about Multilingualism


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