When is it ok for a parent use a non-native language with his or her child(ren)? Does it matter whether or not the non-native language parent is absolutely fluent? Or does every little bit count when it comes to helping our children become bilingual?
Please share your wisdom with Nicholas who isn’t sure what he should should: He wants to help his 16 month old daughter grow up as bilingual as possible but he worries that he is hindering her more than helping. What do you think?
Dear Multilingual Living,
My wife is bilingual and speaks French to our 16 month old daughter. She has done this since our daughter’s birth. We live in England and my native language is English.
I have also also only spoken French to our daughter even though my French is relatively limited. My french has rapidly been improving since her birth. However, I worry now that my ‘broken’ French will be detrimental to our daughter’s speech development.
Should I stop speaking French to her from now on and just stick to English (to reduce damaging her language development) and leave it to my wife to speak French from now on?
Thanks in advance for your help,
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