Monday, December 31, 2007

Ways Families Manage Multiple Languages

This article talks about the different approaches families could use to support bilingualism. As mentioned in my previous post, the OPOL and Minority Language at Home approaches do not apply to our family, but the advice on consistency no matter what approach you come up with kindled a ray of hope.

Bilingual Families Connect: "Approaches

What are the different ways families manage multiple languages?

Minority Language at Home
Family members speak the minority language at home (or when together) and the community language when outside the home (or with people who speak only the community language). For example, a family in the United States speaks Spanish (minority language) when they are together but English (community language) outside of the home with non-Spanish speakers.

In dual-parent households, this approach requires that both parents are comfortable speaking the minority language to their children. Typically, they are either native speakers of the minority language or fluent non-native speakers. In some cases children have relatively equal exposure to both languages from the start (for example, English at daycare and Spanish at home) and in other cases children have limited exposure to the community language until they start school. Want to read advice from other parents?

One Parent One Language (OPOL)
Each parent speaks their own native language to the children. For example, the mother, a native French-speaker, speaks French to the children and the father, a native English-speaker, speaks English to the children.

Ideally, both parents need to have at least some ability in the minority language to make this a viable..." (Read more)

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