FAQs

Questions about Bilingual Family

Why should I contact you?

Raising a child with one language requires little planning or effort: The child generally learns the language just like that.

While bringing up a child with two or more languages is essentially just as easy for the child, it often requires a lot more planning on the part of the parents. For example, in my experience, many children switch to speaking English at an early age and often miss out on learning the parents' home language because the families are not aware of how to deal with typical issues that arise along the way. Some parents get discouraged and stop speaking their home language and the children thus become monolingual at a very early age.

The more you know about typical language development patterns for multilingual children and strategies to deal with issues that may come up along the way, the greater is your chance of successfully raising children that are fluent in more than one language. I provide you with the information, strategies and resources to help you raise multilingual children.

When is a good time to contact you?

It is never too early to think about your language goals and the resources available for your particular situation. A good time to come to a bilingual family workshop or to do a consultation is when you are expecting your first child. That way, you have the knowledge, strategies and resources ready when your little one is born.

What kinds of questions and concerns do you address in your workshops, consultations and presentations?

The workshops, consultations and presentations cover a wide variety of topics and always address the particular questions and concerns of a given audience. Here are some examples of questions and concerns that parents and professionals have brought forward:
  • My child only responds to me in English. It's so frustrating. What should I do?
  • How many languages are too many languages?
  • Should I speak English or my home language to my children if I want them to succeed in Canada?
  • At what age do children know they are exposed to more than one language?
  • At what age can children differentiate their two languages?
  • Does bilingualism cause language delay?
  • My child mixes the two languages. Is this a problem?
  • When should my child start to learn English?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of being bilingual?
  • My child is reluctant to speak my language. How can I get him/her to speak it with me?
  • My partner doesn't speak my language well. Should I ask him/her to stop speaking it to our children?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of French immersion?
  • My child is autistic. Should I switch to English?
  • My child has a language disorder. Is bilingualism going to be too much?
  • I want my children to be successful at school. What language should I speak to them?

When is your next workshop?

Please email me to find out. You can also request a workshop or presentation in your area on a variety of topics surrounding child multilingualism for you and your friends or colleagues.

Do you do consulting for families that want to raise their children with three or more languages?

Yes. My own children are growing up with three languages. While the principles and strategies are similar to those for bilingualism, there is generally a bit more planning and effort required on the part of the parents / caregivers to successfully instill trilingualism or multilingualism in their children. My consulting is tailored to your specific situation, including the number of languages you are considering for your children.

Does your consulting cover all languages or just the ones you speak?

I can assist you with any language or language combination. The principles of bilingualism and multilingualism hold for all languages and the strategies will be tailored to your specific situation.

We have friends that are also interested in your consulting. Can we do the consulting together?

I can do a workshop with you and your friends and we can discuss the languages that apply to your families.

My child is 6 years old and we haven't started speaking our home language to her yet. Can we still contact you?

I work with expecting parents, parents of newborn babies and parents of older children. We can discuss language strategies suitable to your situation and needs.

Questions about Child Multilingualism

We don't speak another language. Can we still raise a bilingual child?

The second language does not have to come from the home, it can also come from the community you live in, a nanny, daycare, or school (e.g., French immersion), for example.

Our child is already bilingual. Should we consider French Immersion or is that going to be too much?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. For some bilingual children, adding French to the mix would be perfectly fine, for others, adding French might endanger the continued successful learning of one of the other two languages. What is right for your family depends on your particular situation, which languages are involved in your child's bilingualism, how much support there is for these languages in your area, how proficient the child is in his or her two languages, how many opportunities the child will have to use his or her languages, etc.

Contact

Dr. Anne Rimrott, Ph.D.
Linguist, Language Consultant
Vancouver, Canada

Email: anne@bilingualfamily.ca