Multilingual challenges

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Multilingual challenges

One of the most common challenges in raising a bilingual child is when the child will refuse to use one of the languages, and most often is the language not used in the community. This happens because maybe the child has not used that language enough or it is because the parents have not enforced the use of that language so it is extremely important that from the beginning, the parents encouraged the child to respond in the language that they want him to, eventually, to speak. Another problem is also when parents feel that maybe the child is quite proficient in or is quite bilingual by age five, but they might feel that at age five, the child’s English is not strong enough and then parents are getting concerned because the child has to start school and as a result of this concern, they might start emphasizing English at the expense of the other language. This is a problem because really at age five, language is not fully acquired and if you do not continue the minority language, then schooling most likely would be in English, the child will not continue with the opportunity of developing the two languages. So parents should not get scared about schooling and should let the schooling teach English to the child and continue with the other language at home.

See Simona Montanari, PhD's video on Multilingual challenges...


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Simona Montanari, PhD


Simona Montanari is Assistant Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on language development and second language acquisition in childhood. She received a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Southern California specializing in language development in monolingual and multilingual children. Dr. Montanari has published her research in prestigious peer-reviewed journals and she is regularly invited to present on early bilingualism and trilingualism locally and internationally. Dr. Montanari has also been involved in the creation and implementation of an Italian-English dual language program in the Glendale Unified School District, for which she continues to work as a consultant. Dr. Montanari has two trilingual and tri-literate daughters, six and seven years of age.

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