- • http://www.multilingualliving.com/—Multilingual Living is the home of the popular Multilingual Living Magazine, a publication dedicated to families raising bilingual children. Parents can join a discussion forum where they can share strategies, ideas, and resources.
- • http://www.multilingualchildren.org/index.html—The Multilingual Children’s Association provides parents with useful resources on raising bilingual children and offers an online space where parents can ask questions, find bilingual playgroups, and share experiences.
- • http://spanglishbaby.com/—Created by two Latina moms, this site offers links to many useful bilingual family sites. Readers can also get their questions about bilingual parenting answered by a panel of experts.
- • http://www.bilingualism-matters.org.uk/—A team of researchers at the University of Edinburgh have put together a useful site for parents interested in raising bilingual children.
STUDY QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
1. Interview a parent who is raising a bilingual family. What are the language backgrounds of the parents? What are their reasons for raising children bilingually? What language strategies (e.g., One-parent, one-language;
Minority language at home; Mix two languages whenever) have the parents employed and how have they worked? What difficulties do the parents face? Does the family have access to adequate reading materials in both languages and community support outside the family?
- 2. Observe parents interacting with their young children at home. Do you notice any differences between the way the parents relate to their eldest child and the way they relate to the younger children? How much of the parents’ speech is directed to the eldest child? To the younger children? How does each child’s gender and personality affect his/her interaction with parents and siblings?
- 3. Ask some childcare professionals (e.g., pediatricians, speech therapists, preschool teachers, daycare staff) about their experiences in working with bilingual children. What measures have they used to assess children’s linguistic, cognitive, and social development? What difficulties have they faced? What additional resources or training could be helpful in their work?
- 4. It was stated in this chapter that studying the language development of one’s own children has many practical advantages, including privileged access to the children and first-hand knowledge of the children’s language experiences and environment. But are there some drawbacks as well?
- 5. Browse several parenting- and/or language learning-related websites. Based on what you have learned in this book, would you say the information contained on each site is accurate and research-based? What are some ways in which to assess the validity of the claims made on these sites?