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Bilingualism – choice or necessity?

Bilingualism – choice or necessity?

Growing up bilingual is another aspect of my early childhood which was a given for me (last week I wrote about how I took for granted my right to speak my mother tongue at school). I really had no choice, as my mother spoke Finnish with me and my father Swedish. They did not have […]

Bilingual children travel well, and do well to travel

Bilingual children travel well, and do well to travel

Today, having helped my younger daughter pack for her trip to the other side of the world, I was again reminded of how travelling has been important, in so many ways, for her and her sister. Apart from the obvious of visiting new and revisiting familiar places, travelling has for them played a crucial role […]

Many languages, one identity

Many languages, one identity

In a recent radio program on multilingualism the bilingual poet and Professor Gustavo Perez Firmat stated that he feels very differently about his two languages, with English being a happier language than Spanish. He also answered ‘Yes’ to the question whether he felt like a different person when speaking each language. I find this very […]

10 things bilingual children do really well

10 things bilingual children do really well

Every child is good at something and as parents we love seeing our children do well. Bilingual children have an added advantage in different situations in their lives – and they often get really good, and – depending on their personality – sometimes cheeky with their language skills. 1. Correct their parents’ language Children in […]

Bilingual! Bicultural? Do you know where I am coming from?

Bilingual! Bicultural? Do you know where I am coming from?

“Where are you from?” that was one of the questions from last week’s post – a question to be mindful of when speaking to a bilingual or bicultural child. Many adult bilinguals have however said to me that they don’t mind being asked where they come from – and I do agree with them. I […]

7 things you should not say to a bilingual child

7 things you should not say to a bilingual child

Children can be sensitive about almost anything to do with themselves – be it their bodies, looks, family, friends, hobbies, the list is endless. Languages are no exception, so adults should be mindful when making comments or even asking questions to do with their languages. 1. “Where do you come from?” This may sound like […]

Losing or never learning a family language – how does it feel?

Losing or never learning a family language – how does it feel?

When I tell people what I do and what my book “Bringing up a Bilingual Child” is about, I regularly get to hear comments such as “That’s great!” followed by “Oh, I wish I could speak my parent’s language.” It would be so beneficial for parents who are hesitating whether or not to pass on […]

Language and culture - integral parts of a bilingual child's identity

Language and culture – integral parts of a bilingual child’s identity

“… language is paramount for children to become socialized and develop a sense of belonging within cultural settings” This is a quote from an article from a Japanese magazine about the importance of passing on the culture of a language alongside the language itself. You can read the whole article here. I find the article […]

20 reasons why I am thankful for my bilingual life and family

20 reasons why I am thankful for my bilingual life and family

When you have always been bilingual, like I have, you quite often take it for granted and forget how important an aspect it is in your life. So today I want to shout from the rooftops (or tweet from the top of a tree) the first 20 reasons for being thankful for all the languages […]

Creating your own traditions is important for the multicultural family

Creating your own traditions is important for the multicultural family

We’re in that part of the year when people all over the world are celebrating lots of different traditions: Halloween, Diwali, Eid and Dia de los Muertos to mention a few. Of course I have to include my favourite since moving to England: Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night. I don’t know any other nation […]