For example, when dad agrees to use his native language with his children, even though it’s different from the community language and the language he speaks with his wife, he has to be very conscious of his communication skills. This in turn makes him more conscious of other aspects of his relationship with his children. He thinks more not only about how he uses language with his children but also about when and in what contexts. Perhaps he becomes more concerned about doing different activities with the children as he realizes he typically only talks about soccer and homework, and he knows that as he broadens his language use with the children they will benefit not only linguistically but also as social beings.
Success in languages can be deeply influenced by a child’s home surroundings and the interest parents take in guiding the child in the early years. Challenging children to use ever more sophisticated words as they express themselves, insisting on dinnertime conversations instead of passive television watching, and subtle corrections about proper language use are all appropriate parental roles.
However, children also spend a great deal of time outside the home. Although parents are their child’s first teachers, this slowly gives way to the time children spend in the community and within school. The role of other family members can also be determining factors in language success.