Q&A Friday is your questions answered with multilingual parenting advice. Names and details are normally changed to protect the privacy of each individual. Please scroll down to read today's Q&A. You can submit additional questions using the form towards the bottom of this post. And please don't hesitate to add your own point of view in the comments section!
Have you heard any success stories when one parent actively speaks 2 languages? I’m bilingual – Polish and English, my husband speaks English only. I find it really hard to stick to Polish only. Should I put more effort into being consistent with one language only or is it ok for me to use both?
Thanks for writing and for your patience in me answering your question! I do have two success stories when one parent successively speaks and transmits two heritage languages. The first is our own family! We are living in France and raising our children in French, English and Spanish. My husband who is French speaks the community language (French) with our four children and I speak my two heritage languages (English and Spanish) with them. I speak each language exclusively with my children for a period of two weeks and then we switch. They are aged 13, 11, 8 and 2 and are all proficient in all three languages. We have been using this adaptation of the OPOL system for nearly 9 years now and are very happy with the journey and the results! You can read more about it here: Raising children using an adaptation of the OPOL system: switching languages every two weeks. You can also listen to the Bilingual Kids Rock podcast | One Parent Speaks Two Languages to Her Children in a Unique and Effective Way where I describe this system more in detail.
The second family that is using one parent to actively transmit 2 heritage languages is Olena Centeno, the founder of Bilingual Kids Rock! You can read here about how this family adapted their language plan. Olena was also up against a bit of a roadblock in her family’s language progress when she decided to switch to this new system and his happy with the results so far. Finally, I’d like to tell you that whatever the language plan you choose for your family, it should be something that everyone feels comfortable and happy with. When each family member is personally invested in the family’s language plan, there will always be greater chance for success! Although, I would highly recommend to use a system like the one described above, the way you organize yourself must fit your personality and lifestyle as well as the members of your family. Your family language plan should be specifically designed to meet your family’s needs and desires.
Good luck to you and please write again and tell me how things are working out for you!
Do you have any questions you’d like to ask me about your multilingual endeavors? Do you need some multilingual parenting advice? Send me a private message by using this form. You can also chime in with your own advice by leaving a comment in the comments section below.