I am the author of a guide entitled: 'Survive the bilingualism. How to raise a bilingual child?' which was published by the Wydawnictwo Harmonia publisher in the year 2008. In June 2010 its German translation, a little bit altered and updated, was published by the Rabenstück Verlag publisher. The book was entitled: 'Gelebte Zweisprachigkeit. Wie erziehe ich mein Kind zweisprachig?'.
In my book I discuss the situation of such bilingual families, where a mother and a father speak two different languages, and also of monolingual families living abroad.
The information included in my work may prove useful in finding answers to such frequently asked questions, as:
You can order both books with a dedication by sending an e-mail to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The books are sent free of charge in Germany.
- When should I begin the bilingual upbringing?
- In what way should I teach my child our mother tongue, if we are living abroad? How should I act and what rules should I follow?
- What does being persistent mean and why is it important for the linguistic development of a child?
- How should I communicate with a child at home and outside?
- Where can a child learn correctly the language of the environment?
- What should a person do, who does not fully understand his/her spouse's language and who has not mastered it fully? How to not make him/her feel left out and bitter, if he/she does not understand what his/her spouse is talking about to their child.
- What do you do in a situation, when a child refuses to use his/her parents' language?
- What do you do if a child attending a kindergarten or school begins to use words or expressions from a foreign language, while speaking in his/her mother tongue?
Below I present an excerpt from my chapter 'Why should parents talk to their children using their mother tongue?'
Grandparents and cousins
Children brought up abroad have to know their parents' mother tongue because of the grandparents and cousins living in the parents' country of origin. It is the most important and most obvious argument for me. Parents should create an opportunity for their children to get to know and love their closest relatives because they, apart from the parents, play the most significant role in the bilingual/bicultural life of children raised abroad.
To enable the grandparents to fulfil their role, the parents have to help by bringing their children up in such a way, so that they are able to communicate verbally with the grandparents. The grandchildren have to know the grandparents' language in order to get together and make friends with them, and to be able to participate in the most wonderful activities in the world, such as joyful games, walks, and moments spent with a grandmother and/or grandfather. It is the reason why the most important task, or actually a duty of parents living abroad, is teaching their children their mother tongue in a solid and responsible way.
Teach not only single words, but also building correct sentences, correct articulation and logical thinking. Teach a natural language - which means, a child can be sure that he/she will be understood correctly by others and will receive an expected answer. The grandchildren should master the language to such extent, so as to communicate with their grandparents without too many problems at any time.