You have met families who swear by the One Parent One Language (OPOL) strategy, and others who only speak the minority language at home, others who speak a specific language only some of the time, and you are now wondering who is doing it right.
Did you know that many of the world’s English language users are not native speakers of English? For so many years language learners have strived to become “like a native speaker”, with flawless grammar and pronunciation.
For many parents the first stumbling block is at the very start… is bilingualism a good idea? Is it common? Will my child grow up to feel different from everyone else?
Think about the main carers in your child’s life. What language does each one speak? How often? For what purpose? Is each carer going to address the child in one language, or in more than one? Which language(s) will be used when the main carers are together?
Many articles you find around the internet will tell you that there are two or three successful techniques for achieving success when raising children through multiple languages or trying to keep up skills in a minority language.
It is very common nowadays to walk around any city or large town in Ireland and hear many different languages. Main streets are populated with road signs in Irish and English and with shop fronts that signal the presence of ethnic food, with signs written in Chinese, Arabic and Polish.
Taking roles is a fun activity that uses children’s incredible imagination and creativity, while supporting their development of language and communication as well as problem-solving skills.