For Families

In an increasingly diversified world, more and more children find themselves in an environment where more than one language is used. With life changes that involve moving to different parts of the world, parents can feel overwhelmed by the linguistic demands on them and their children.

What can parents expect of their children? Do parents have anything to contribute to the process of early language development? Does it confuse children to learn two or more languages at once? Do children have to be especially intelligent to be able to cope with more than one language?

On this page, you'll find research based answers to such questions and more so that your family can experience harmonious bilingualism.

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Here you can get research-based insights from experts on early multilingualism and multilingualism in general.


Podcasts

Is there a language delay for young bilingual children?

by Dr. Annick De Houwer | A bilingual upbringing is never a reason for a slow language development.

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Hello! This is Annick De Houwer.

For over 40 years I have been doing research into how young bilingual children develop language. It still amazes me that there are many people out there who think that hearing two languages from a very young age slows down the overall language development process. Let me assure you: it does not. Children who grow up bilingual and so hear two languages from an early age develop at least one of their languages at levels you would expect for their age. There is no overall language delay in young bilingual children. You do have to worry, however, if your child is not saying words in any language by the time she or he is one and a half, or if she or he is not stringing together words into little sentences in any language soon after the second birthday. Not speaking at all or not saying sentences can have several causes, but please, let nobody tell you that it is the bilingual setting that is causing that. A bilingual upbringing is never a reason for a slow language development.

Thanks for listening, and stay tuned for more podcasts about early bilingual development from HaBilNet!

December 23, 2019

Videos

New book with advice for parents in bilingual families

An interview with its author, Jürgen Meisel

HaBilNet Director Annick De Houwer interviewed Advisory Board Member Jürgen Meisel about his recent book entitled Bilingual children: A guide for parents.

Tweetalige kinderen

Dit is een nederlandstalige video die laat zien hoe jonge kinderen tweetalig kunnen zijn. This is a video in Dutch showing how children can be bilingual from a young age. Made by Annick De Houwer, a researcher specializing in bilingual development in children. Thanks to the Universitaire Instelling Antwerpen for the technical support and to students there for recording material.

Prof. Dr. Annick De Houwer über Inklusion und Partizipation

Während des vierten IFP-Fachkongresses "Inklusion & Partizipation – Vielfalt als Chance und Anspruch" am 26. und 27. Juni 2013 in München wurden Referent*innen interviewt. Hier steht Prof. Dr. Annick De Houwer, Universität Erfurt, Rede und Antwort (auf Deutsch).

The importance of home language maintenance

Many children who grow up with several languages do not actually speak a language their parents speak to them. This interview explains some of the causes and effects. Dr. Ludovica Serratrice (University of Reading) was interviewing Dr. Annick De Houwer (University of Erfurt; HaBilNet Director). HaBilNet wishes to thank Dr. Serratrice for making this video available.

Les enfants bilingues

Ce vidéo en français montre comment les enfants puissent être bilingues d'un jeune age. This is a video in French showing how children can be bilingual from a young age. Made by Annick De Houwer, a researcher specializing in bilingual development in children. Thanks to the Universitaire Instelling Antwerpen for the technical support and to students there for recording material.

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