These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and their answers were prepared by Johanne Paradis (University of Alberta) in collaboration with several members of COST Action IS0804.


We're slowly producing translations which for the time being can be downloaded as PDF files:


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FAQs (and some answers):

Please click on a question to read our answer.

1. We are raising our child bilingually at home, but we are worried that may cause a delay in her language development. We would like to know if a bilingual child is necessarily going to be delayed. In other words, is delay normal in bilinguals?

2. We are bilingual parents, but are considering raising our child monolingually at home, using only the societal language. However, we speak the societal language with a strong accent (having immigrated as adults) and are more proficient in our native language. Is this a good idea?

3. When should I seek professional help if my bilingual child does not speak or shows performance which is low for his age when compared to his bilingual peers?

4. My child is three years old and we have been raising him bilingually at home. We try to follow the “one-parent-one-language” rule, but we have noticed that our son mixes the two languages together when he speaks. Is this a sign that he has a language disorder?

5. We are bilingual parents and mix the two languages (code-switch) very often. Is it okay to speak both languages to the child and code-switch?

6. At what age should we expose our child to the second language? Should we wait until he gets control of the home language first, or should we start as early as possible?

7.a Which language should I use with my child if the language spoken in the school is different from the one spoken at home and he shows difficulties in both languages? Should we drop the home language and use only one language? What would happen if we, the parents, drop the home language, but the grandparents continue to use it with the child?

7.b Our five-year-old is bilingual and has been diagnosed with specific language impairment. We have been advised to speak only one language to him at home — the language of school. This will be difficult, since his older sister and brother speak two languages and we are a bilingual family. Should we follow this advice?

8. We planned for our son to attend an immersion school where he can learn through a second language — different from the language we speak at home — and grow up bilingually. But our son has been diagnosed with specific language impairment. Does this mean he is not a good candidate for immersion education?

9. My daughter is fluent in her home language but finds it difficult to acquire the school language. Could there be a delay (impairment) in the second language only?

10. When can specific language impairment be diagnosed in sequential bilinguals? How long should they be exposed to the second language?

11. Are there books and you can recommend?