Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Suggestion: The Bilingual Family, a Handbook for Parents


The Bilingual Family: A Handbook for Parents by Edith Harding-Esch and Philip Riley offers a thorough explanation of how to raise a child bilingual. With a heavy reliance on case studies in the second half of the book, readers can fully appreciate various approaches (and situations) to a bilingual family. There is also a helpful alphabetical reference guide at the end. 

I appreciated the discussion of fluency throughout the book and the attention to mixed language families living in different countries. There was an emphasis on an individual's varying fluency depending on situations and experience. For example, they explain:

"Each of us speaks a part of our mother tongue. The bilingual does, too, that is, she speaks parts of two languages, and they rarely coincide exactly. If she is a lawyer, for example, she may work only in English in her office or in court, but speak French at home, with the result that her legal English is far better (as such) than her legal French, and her domestic French is far better (as such) than her domestic English. How can we compare the two then? All we can say is that they are different tools for different purposes."

If you are considering raising your child bilingual, you might also be interested in my recent review of The Bilingual Edge.


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