Influencing children’s multilingual development

Influencing children’s multilingual development

There is much evidence to support the benefits of multilingualism. Home language maintenance is also important for family relationships and cultural transmission.

Family Language policy (FLP), a key component of the family dynamic, addresses three interrelated aspects of children’s multilingual development: language ideology (what family members believe about language), language practices (what they do with language), and language management (what efforts they make to maintain language).

Understanding these approaches to family language policy will enable us to understand the role of FLP in a given society and, more importantly, how children’s language development can be influenced by changes in the FLP.

In partnership with Professors Li Wei of UCL and Zhu Hua of Birkbeck, University of London, an ESRC funded project involves transnational families across three ethnolinguistic communities - Chinese, Polish and Somali. The project explores what types of FLP exist in the UK at the national level, how FLP is shaped, established, and implemented at the community level, and what practices are managed and how they are negotiated at the family level.

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Bilingualism Matters @ Reading

Bilingualism Matters provides training, advice and information on child bilingualism.

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