Sunday, August 29, 2010


Heh. I mean "curious about raising kids bilingually?" Over at Ask Moxie, someone posed a question about whether this effort is worth pursuing.

Hey, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you know in your heart of heart, you feel in your very soul of souls, that giving your children the gift of more than one language is giving them the tools they'll need to thrive in life. But if you're not convinced yet--or if you just want to hear from dozens and dozens of people about why and how it works for them--check out the comments to the post.

(Of course, if you want more details, eloquently presented, then may I also direct you to the profiles I have published over the past four years? Gentle readers, please meet these amazing bi- and multilingual families. Families, let's welcome these new readers!)


  1. Going bi-lingual is a lot of effort. Besides all the fun and (sentimental/pracrical) motivation for raising you child bi-lingually though, there's also the factor of brain power.

    The thing is you might not even want to go fully bi-lingual, but exposing your child to another language as much as possible creates a skill for languages. Which is important in our world globalisation. There is however, only a limited time in a child's life that you are able to cultivate and teach this skill (I think it is until 3 or 6, depending on who you talk to). Once that window is closed languages becomes a real chore and an actual subject, instead of a talent and skill.

    So you might not know right now if your child is going to use this skill, but chances are very good that he/she might very well need it or want it one day. Create the skill and you've lost nothing. Leave it be and you might take something from your child's life that you can never put back.

    Besides, it so much fun and it adds a whole new dimension to their vocabularly once they start talking.

  2. Yes, learning additional languages when you're young creates all sorts of neural pathways in the brain that wouldn't have been there otherwise, and also broadens your mind and piques your curiosity about other countries and cultures. (And of course lots of other benefits that I don't need to go into here.) These skills and ideas and experiences will definitely serve you well throughout life, even if, as Keda says, you're not actually fluent in the other languages.

    As far as the so-called "window" where kids can learn a language easily--I've also read that this is a myth, that adults can learn languages as easily as children--just in different ways. The studies do show that it's harder for most teens and adults to acquire native-like pronunciation.

  3. Several of the people who commented on the original post at Ask Moxie have agreed to let me interview them! Stay tuned for a new round of profiles...and as always, let me know if you'd be willing to let me profile your family here at Bringing up Baby Bilingual!