12 Common Myths and Misconceptions about Bilingual Children

by Corey · 44 comments

12 Common Myths and Misconceptions about Bilingual Children

We are delighted to share a fantastic, colorful, fully-formatted downloadable infographic titled 12 Common Myths and Misconceptions about Bilingual Children. The first page lists the myths and the second page gives you the factual information for each.

The information for this infographic comes from Barbara Zurer Pearson’s book Raising a Bilingual Child.

Feel free to print this out and share it with your friends, family, school administrators, teachers, pediatricians and anyone else who may need the information! Or send them this link so that they can download it themselves.

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CLICK HERE to download 12 Common Myths and Misconceptions about Bilingual Children.


Corey Heller is the founder of Multilingual Living and the Editor-In-Chief/Publisher of Multilingual Living Magazine. Multilingual Living is the place where she shares her knowledge about raising multilingual and multicultural children. Corey, an American, and her German husband live in Seattle where they raise and homeschool their three children, ages 15, 14 and 12, in German and English.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ana Lomba June 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm

This is great, Corey! Thanks for creating/sharing it. Great visual!


2 Elli Strauss June 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm

As someone who grew up with 3 or 4 languages around her and currently a linguist and translator, I can only say bravo! (I have to admit that I only realized in my 30’s that I have a real gift for picking up and mastering languages.)
I would actually add that growing up with several languages seems to sharpen sensitivity for different cultures, enhance brain power and increase learning ability – at least as far as my experience has taught me.
I have grandchildren in Berlin who are growing up – totally naturally – with English, German and the Swiss-German dialect. They know exactly who speaks what…and they are picking up other languages of the kids around them. They are bright, focused and well-adjusted (that may also be a factor of the parenting they are getting).

I’m glad you have finally blown away some of these rather arcane myths.

Thank you



3 Stephanie June 21, 2011 at 11:07 am

Fantastic! I love infographics. I shared it on twitter and FB as well.


4 Corey August 18, 2011 at 4:41 am

Thanks for your comment, Stephanie, and for sharing the infographic. I really had a great time creating that from Barbara’s fantastic list of myths. Ahhh, the good old days of Multilingual Living Magazine! ­čÖé


5 Natalie December 12, 2011 at 7:54 am

This is a great infographic Corey! There are too many reasons/excuses to not do something, especially with the responsibility of raising your children in the best way possible. As someone thinking of moving to Mexico, the infographic helps dispel concerns I had about #10, and I plan on sharing this link to my blog for expats also thinking of moving to Mexico (expatsinmex.com) – thanks again for this info.


6 Judie Haynes January 30, 2012 at 7:57 am

Excellent list Corey. Thank you for sharing it.


7 Nico Moses January 31, 2012 at 4:43 am

Being someone who is sort of a bilingual person, this list was really helpful for me.

Thanks for sharing.

– Nico


8 Annie January 31, 2012 at 6:23 am

This list is really good to know. I actually thought some of those myths are true. Thanks for the heads up.


9 MarcieMom February 1, 2012 at 1:11 am

I need some advice! My 2yo is starting to be able to mimic sounds and we think it’s high time we start her on Chinese (we’re Singaporean Chinese). But we’ve been speaking English for so long and it’s kind of hard to switch language all of a sudden. How to best introduce Chinese?

Btw, I’ve a blog for parents with eczema children and run a support group and initiated a fund for low income eczema patients in Singapore. Check out my blog eczemablues.com ­čÖé


10 Dianna K. Goneau Inkster October 12, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I switched to French during the daytime when I realized my daughter and son could not enter the immersion programme here because we didn’t have one. The laugh was on me. We did have a French language school for francophone children and non-francophone families admitted to the school by the Admissions Committee. I knew that my children would have to already know French to get admitted there and progress well there so I switched to French and finally, found out where the school board was hiding its French books. I never looked back. My sister’s husband switched to English with his kids when they were about 2 & 3. His French-Canadian wife wanted them not to learn English too quickly, but the Grandmother was monolingual anglophone (an American from Kentucky) and wanted to communicate in English with her grandchildren. My niece and nephew learned English very quickly.


11 Alive Satton April 30, 2012 at 6:39 am

I am not really sure about the post but I think this will be useful to others.


12 Mark Volan May 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm

I am not really sure these will help me or not but those who believe in myths will be helpful for sure.


13 Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh - Ma Puce September 15, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Hello, this is a great read infographic and I will share the link to it on my website and blog Ma Puce. I have to say though, I tend to believe that young children are like sponges when it comes to soaking up language, I’d love to be educated more on why this might not be the case. Thanks so much, Luci


14 Lena September 16, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Way too hard to read and it’s annoying that the numbers are out of order.


15 Anna Wolleben May 11, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Hello, really nice infographic poster-love it! The only thing is: I made experience with my 2 children (2 and 4 y.o.), who are trilingual (Engl, Germ, Polish), that myths no 1. and no 3. don’t work for us. They started to speak later than other children and they definitely soak languages like sponges. I would be very interested to read something about the first aspect, can you Corrie recommend any article on your blog about this topic?


16 Petra May 12, 2013 at 11:12 am

Nice infographic! Although, I would like to argue that little kids do soak up languages like sponges. I see it first hand every day as my girls are learning three very different languages with no problem. They listen, memorize and repeat.
I would also like to think that knowing another language is rewarding, it has always been so for me.


17 Kim May 26, 2013 at 10:58 am

I’m a bilingual speech-language pathologist, and I couldn’t agree more with most of these points. Myth #1 is a HUGE misconception. Bilingual children should reach major speech/language milestones ON TIME (taking vocabulary across all languages they speak into account). I can’t emphasize this enough; any bilingual/multilingual child who is a “late talker” (meaning that by age two they have less than 50 words total and are not yet combining 2 words), should be referred to a speech-language pathologist with experience in bilingualism. It’s true, some “late talkers” just catch up on their own, but many do not, and early intervention can make a big difference.

From my perspective, #10 is not entirely a myth. In my experience, second-language transfer patterns are sometimes evident in children who come from a home where their parents speak a non-native language. The same can be said of children who grow up in a home where non-standard dialects of English are spoken (African-American English, Appalachian English, etc.), children learn the language patterns they are exposed to in the home. With that being said, I certainly don’t think that’s a reason to avoid teaching your child a second language! I learned Spanish as an adult, and I will always speak it with an “accent” but that doesn’t stop me from communicating effectively. And in the case of young children, these phonological and grammatical patterns may change, as the child is increasingly exposed to native speakers of the language.


18 Jeffrey Nelson July 18, 2013 at 8:34 am


Thanks for the great infographic! I should definitely utilize it on my site ­čÖé

Also – thanks again for all you do. This site is an inspiration, a wealth of knowledge, and a great overall endeavor. As a blogger/developer/marketer/everything as well, I know how time consuming and tough it can be in this sometimes thankless labor of love!

Keep up the good work.



19 Kendal August 1, 2013 at 6:10 am

I’d never considered any of those when thinking of multilingual kids! I think they’re smarter and more prepared for life, probably more educated…. and “there’s only one way to raise a bilingual child”? What? lol


20 Canan August 22, 2013 at 11:47 pm

This is a great infographic. Thank you for your efforts. Although having raised a quadrilingual daughter and managing a Learning Center where I have a lot of experiences with kids that are heavily carrying the accents of their parents, I will have to disagree with your points number 3 & number 10.


21 Belle November 21, 2013 at 10:15 am

Do you have this handout in spanish?


22 marina April 4, 2014 at 2:07 am

so great info. Being bilingual myself and raising 2 trilingual kids I can say I agree with most of what you right. But as regards accent, won’t your kids get your not-so-native accent when they learn a language through you? I mean my italian is close to native (spoke it since I was born, University there, lots of family there) but I cannot say I do not have a little greek accent in it. Won’t my kids have it, too?



23 Megan Abreu April 15, 2018 at 8:20 pm


I am doing a service project and am wondering if you have this document, http://www.multilingualliving.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/free_downloads/MLL_12_Myth_Misconceptions_Pearson.pdf , in Spanish. Or something like it in Spanish.

Thank you!



24 Carmen Chavez July 30, 2018 at 10:30 am

Thank you for this great resource. Is it available in Spanish?


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