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The Magic of Multilingualism

Bilingualism is the ability to speak and understand more than one language. There are around 7000 languages spoken in the world and around half the population are thought to be bilingual. Parents often worry about the effect that learning two or more languages might have on their child’s language development and their learning in school, but having more than one language can be a huge advantage to the child’s social and academic success.
MYTH:  It is better for families to only speak the language taught In school to their children, even if they do not speak the language well.
FACT: Families should speak the language they are most comfortable speaking, so children are given good language models and can interact best with other members of their community, 
Top Tips:
  • From birth speak to your child in your home language and the one you feel is your strongest. A child will learn best from a clear confident model and if you are talking to your child using broken language they are likely to learn the broken language.
  • When two languages are spoken at home e.g. mum speaks Mandarin  and dad speaks French it can be helpful for parents to use their own language 100% of the time e.g. mum always speaks Mandarin to the child and dad always speaks French to the child.
  • Don’t worry if your child mixes up languages, this is called ‘code switching’ and is a normal part of language development for bilingual speakers
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