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Be Bilingual - Practical Ideas for Multilingual Families Kindle Edition
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To give some context, I bought the book specifically because despite talking to my daughter in English since birth, at 2.5 years old she was still answering me French. As I read the book I realised we'd have to change the strategy we used at home, moving from one-parent one-language to both parents speaking the minority language at home. I also pretended to no longer understand her when she spoke French and we gave up ideas of introducing a third language into the household (for the moment at least). The very day we put these changes in place my daughter answered me in English for the first time, and she's continued to do so ever since, more than a year later :)
I bought the Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa book at the same time and never got beyond the first few chapters - i found it quite academic and much more difficult to read. If you're looking for an easy-to-read guide, packed with useful advice and strategies for encouraging language acquisition, you can't go wrong here.
Being a linguist myself and studying a master's degree in Applied Linguistics, with a huge interest in bilingualism, and also raising my children in the OPOL system, I have found this book completely crucial in every parents' library (obviously parents interested in the topic of bilingualism).
I have read tons of books on bilingualism, academic papers, research, etc. If I had to choose only a book to recommend to a family interested in raising their children bilingual, this will be it, no doubt.
However, It can be useful for many European langues speakers.
Annika Bourgogne, who wrote a thesis on bilingualism, managed to put together an easy to read version of what is otherwise very specialist literature on bilingualism. She also uses her experience as a mother of bilingual children to give practical advices such as why your child may refuse to speak the minority language and what to do about it. How do you develop bi-literacy? How do you find local resources? How long does a child need to be exposed to a minority language to become bilingual?
The only aspect I would have loved to read more about was how to you foster a feeling of being bi-cultural, although it is covered in the book to some extend. Also, this book is for parents of young children, as there is very little content for teenagers in there. Maybe this could be addressed in another book?
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