Amongst the jungle of books and volumes about multilingualism and bilingualism, we read the volume written by Annika Bourgogne “Be Bilingual, Practical Ideas For Multilingual Families”. If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-track book written on this topic, then you should give “Be Bilingual, Practical Ideas For Multilingual Families” a try. A fresh and an unconventional look into the world of those families that struggle to raise bilingual children.
Indeed, the problem I found with the majority of the books written on this topic is that they give a very detailed list of scientific approaches, the pros and cons of them but they fail to give families practical instructions on how to approach multilingualism. That is what Annika Bourgogne’s book does: it details and gives families a hand set of instruction that can be applied by everyone. Not only that, but “Be Bilingual, Practical Ideas For Multilingual Families” lists a complete and thorough set of situations where bilingualism can be applied.
The book is divided into two parts. The first part is about understanding which method best applies to your family. If you are an expat couple, for instance, you would want to concentrate on the type of education that your children should expect from a local school, or on how to keep the language spoken at home alive. Instead, if the case is for an international adoption or a trilingual family, then families would concentrate on how many chances the child gets to practice the language.
The three main approaches to bilingualism, One Parent One Language (OPOL), linking the language to a place or group of people, or taking on a mixed approach are naturally analyzed in depth while, at the same time, Bourgogne does not shy away from questioning very old beliefs. This alone, I think, is one of the reasons why it is worth to buy this book. Sometimes families are so concentrated on the best method when they should probably try to understand if bilingualism really fit into their situations at all.
The second part of the book copes with useful tips and suggestions to approach the myriad of situations that bilingual families may come across. This is the part I enjoyed the most since it answers a number of questions my family and I asked ourselves many times. What should families do to encourage a beneficial language improvement between their children and their grandparents? What if they reside in the country where the minority language is spoken? How can we use tools to improve the minority language?
“Be Bilingual, Practical Ideas For Multilingual Families” is an e-book (so, no need to read it with a Kindle) and can be purchased here (also available in the other international Amazon stores like UK, France, Spain etc.)
If you are a playing with the idea of raising a bilingual child, I definitely suggest you Annika Bourgogne’s “Be Bilingual, Practical Ideas For Multilingual Families”, a rational and down-to-earth guide for real-families in the multilingual world.
What is your approach to bilingualism? What worked for your children? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment!