In a community where the minority language is French, many activities are conducted mostly in English, the dominant language. For example, television, tablets, social media, reading, recess and extracurricular activities. Furthermore, we are seeing more and more English dominant (ED) children enroll in French-language schools. These children are learning French (the minority language) in a French-language school all the while living in an English community. On the flip side, the French dominant (FD) children are also learning French in a minority context but they are increasingly exposed to English through their French second language (L2) learning peers. This significantly decreases their opportunities to hear and to use French and makes it more difficult for them to acquire and maintain the minority language.
Usually, a typically developing francophone child who starts school will use his or her previous knowledge to expand his or her vocabulary in the language of instruction. However, a typically developing Anglophone child will have little to no prior knowledge available to help broaden his or her vocabulary in the language of instruction (French). Learning new words can be done in two ways. It can be done explicitly, where the child understands the word with an explanation using familiar terms, for example “This is a buff. It is a type of clothing that we can wear in the winter to keep our neck warm.”. The child might use some of the familiar words such as clothing, winter and keep our neck warm to help him or her understand the meaning of the new word buff. It can also be done implicitly, where the child discovers the meaning of the new word from the familiar terms that surround it. For example, “The cold wind didn’t prevent her from playing outside because she was wearing her warm buff”. In this example, the child must use the words and context of the sentence to deduct the meaning of the new word. A child who doesn’t have a lot of vocabulary knowledge will find it difficult to use the latter method to learn new words. Therefore, for the most part, English-speaking children who attend a French-language school will need to learn new words explicitly!
We wanted to know if children living in linguistic minority communities were sufficiently exposed to the French language in order to acquire the French vocabulary. We compared the vocabulary test scores of 25 French dominant children and 35 English dominant children aged 5 to 6 to those of the monolingual norms. The results showed that when ED children were assessed in their dominant language (English), their performance was similar to the English monolingual norms on receptive and expressive vocabulary tests. When FD children were assessed in their dominant language (French), they were unable to achieve the monolingual standard on receptive and expressive vocabulary tests. The results also showed that in all cases, the children performed better in their dominant language than in their L2, which is to be expected. However, it seems that when the dominant language of the child is a minority language, the acquisition of vocabulary becomes more difficult in this language because of the minority linguistic context. This can be explained by several factors, but the one that stands out the most is language exposure.
We also looked at the languages used at home for each of the children in our study; one francophone parent and one anglophone parent, two francophone parents, two anglophone parents, etc. What emerged was that regardless of the languages spoken by the parents, French dominant children were always less successful on the French vocabulary test than their francophone monolingual peers. All children were less successful in their L2, but these results were even more pronounced among learners of French as an L2. This can be explained by the fact that not all English speakers speak French, but all (or almost all) French speakers speak English. In fact, in another study conducted on Franco-Ontarian participants, the performance of French dominant participants on tests assessing the language proficiency of five-to six-year-olds was weak compared to their Quebec peers. The performance of monolingual Franco-Ontarian and FD children seems to be strongly affected by the linguistic context in Ontario. Is there no hope for the promotion of French language in a linguistic minority context?
The questions that remain after this study are: "With more years of schooling in French, does the vocabulary of bilingual FD children resemble that of monolinguals’? Will the vocabulary gap between the ED and FD children diminish?" and "How many years of exposure and instruction in French are needed to ensure that ED children acquire a vocabulary comparable to that of Francophone or FD children residing in the same region?"
Gervais & Mayer-Crittenden, 2018
For more information on how to widen your child's vocabulary, click on the PDF below.
*** This post can also be found on Speech-Language & Audiology Canada's Blog: Communiqué by clicking here.
Have you ever heard an adult say “I used to speak French as a child but now I feel much more comfortable speaking English?”. This is a very common phenomenon called language dominance shift. It is seen most often in regions where children are exposed to the English community language more than their native minority language. For some, it’s a lifelong struggle to maintain proficiency in a minority language where one has to constantly seek out opportunities to practice that language. If you don’t use it, you lose it! What about those who have a developmental language disorder (DLD)? Can they maintain proficiency in their minority language?
What is DLD? Researchers agree that DLD is a neurodevelopmental disorder with genetic components. DLD interferes with a child’s brain development which, in turn, causes difficulties with language learning.
Children who have DLD have difficulty understanding language, learning language and talking. They may have a hard time putting sentences together, using the proper grammatical verb endings or even coming up with a word they want to use. Children with DLD often use simpler language than their same aged peers. Some may even omit certain parts of words and at a young age, might sound like they are mumbling. The latter usually improves with age, but many other difficulties persist.
Children with DLD might also have difficulties with their receptive language. However, this is much less obvious. Some might seem like they are not paying attention or like they are misbehaving or even lazy. When in reality, they might only be picking up odd words here and there, but not grasping the full message, making complex sentences a real challenge This can be due to a difficulty figuring out the meaning of words. Most longer words are not frequently used so those might be difficult to understand. The same goes for words that are difficult to imagine. If I say “apple”, a picture of an apple usually pops up in your head, but if I say “dimension”, that word is difficult to represent by an image and is often more difficult to grasp.
To Speech-Language-Pathologists (SLPs), these difficulties may seem somewhat obvious. To an elementary teacher, a daycare provider, a tutor, or even a parent, these difficulties sometimes go unnoticed. Disorders like dyslexia, ADHD or autism typically have much more obvious symptoms, which is why so many more people know about those disorders. DLD is a hidden disorder, making it that much more difficult to identify. It’s important to identify kids who have DLD at an early age. However, this is often difficult, even for a trained SLP when children are learning more than one language. Bilingual children who are at risk of DLD might appear to be having difficulty learning the second language, when in reality, their difficulties show up in all languages.
We know that solid first language development can have a facilitative effect on second language acquisition. In fact, difficulty learning the first language means that these children will end up with inadequate skills in both languages. It has been shown that insufficient abilities in the first language adversely affects second-language development. So how can we prevent this? The key is often language exposure and early identification.
For both typically developing kids and those who have DLD, most will have a dominant language and a non-dominant language. The dominant language is typically the language for which they have received the greatest amount of exposure. However, the dominant language can shift over time such that children who learn a majority language (i.e. English) as a second language often end up becoming dominant in that language.
The maintenance and continued development of skills in a minority first language depends on how much exposure they get in this language. Some experts say that children need to be exposed to a language 40% of their waking hours in order to become proficient in that language.
In these instances, studies consistently show that from early to middle childhood there is a shift to greater proficiency in the majority language. This is due to the rapid acquisition of the community language together with the slowing, stabilization or loss of the minority language, a consequence of different social experiences, opportunities and demands for the two languages. Note that this is not the case, however, for children who learn the majority community language at home (i.e. English) and attend French-immersion programs for example.
Studies have also shown that young children who have a minority language as their first language and who have DLD are even more vulnerable than typically developing bilingual children to lose their first language or show early plateaus if this language is not supported.
As a parent to a bilingual child with DLD, I battle every day with these notions. My daughter learned English at the age of about 4, making her a sequential bilingual. French is her first language, but we live in a predominantly English community. Even at her French school, children often converse in English in the hallways or in the school yard. She spends roughly 42% of her waking hours in English and 58% of her time in French*. I was stunned by these numbers because I always felt as though she was exposed to a lot more French than that. However, when I actually broke down her week, it made sense. My husband and I speak English to each other and she swims competitively for the local synchronized swimming team where all of the activities take place in English. Several kids in the neighborhood with whom she plays are Anglophone and she only watches TV (Netflix) or YouTube Kids in English. Minutes become hours and hours add up quickly!
I have always spoken to her in French and my husband learned the French language with the kids so he speaks to her mostly in French as well. However, I noticed during the summer break, and even more so over the recent Christmas holiday break that she seemed to naturally default to speaking English to myself and to her siblings. Whereas my other two kids continued to use French spontaneously. I calculated the hours of exposure for that week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and the percentages changed drastically. For one, there were fewer hours of language exposure, which is to be expected because children often take on activities that require very little talking, ex. drawing. For two, she was mostly exposed to the English language due to family visits with my husband’s side of the family as well as time with friends and activities such as downhill skiing and public swimming. Overall, my daughter was exposed to the English language 85% of the time and to the French language,15% of the time. This change in language exposure seemed to turn off or dim down her French language switch and I had to constantly remind her to speak French to me and to her brother and sister. Once school resumed, this was no longer the case! Her French switch was turned back on, so to speak.
I find the analogy of a dimming light bulb fitting. Bilingualism is a continuum. Our brains can have two or more dimming light bulbs at any given time and languages are activated according to our environment. We can dim one language and have the other one on high ampere (amp) or we can have both equally activated at the same time. It might be that children with DLD have weaker amps but they are still able to learn and maintain two languages. One language might just get dimmed or turned off must faster than it would for typically developing children.
I found this fascinating and did a bit of research to see if this had been studied. From what I could find, nothing has been done on this topic. Is this an indication that her language dominance may eventually shift to the English community language? Are the cognitive demands too high for her to consciously use the French language when submerged in an English environment? Is this the case for most children with DLD? Food for thought. I hope to find out!
*In order to help parents make this calculation, I have created a form that can be used for this purpose:
Chantal Mayer-Crittenden, 2017
It’s mid-summer and I have been enjoying my down time with our three kids. One week on, a couple of weeks off, another week on… It’s been good. As I sit here, a bystander listening to my kids play by the water, it baffles my mind to hear how they use languages. To them, languages are a means to get their point across or to get their needs met. They speak English to our dog, English to their cottage friends, to my husband’s side of the family, to their campmates at their bilingual summer camp as well as with most friends from our neighbourhood. They usually speak French to me and to their dad as well as to my parents, except when they are surrounded by their English-speaking friends. In those instances, they will sometimes turn to me and speak English so I try to make a point of asking them to switch to French but I am sometimes reluctant to do so, for fear of sounding punitive. “Parlez français” [speak French!], is what I hear myself saying over and over again.
Here’s a sample of what I am hearing while I write this post. I am outside in our gazebo and they are swimming in the lake:
Matt: French: Je vais retourner avec mon bateau. [I’m going back with my boat]
Sarah: French: Je vais sauter. [I will jump]
Matt: English: Let’s go, I’m going tubing.
Julianne: English: Sarah let's go.
Sarah: English: Matt I said I was jumping.
French: Je sais, je veux sauter [I know, I want to jump]
Matt: English: Sarah hurry up.
French: Julianne assieds-toi en avant [Julianne sit in the front]
They switch from one language to another for no reason other than because they can! What gets me going is when the words within their sentences are so mixed up between languages that I actually have to stop and think about what they are saying. I will often make light of that and give them an inquisitive look. I explain to them that it’s okay to mix up the languages, but that whenever possible, they need to take a few seconds to think about the words they are looking for and use one language in one sentence.
Here’s an example of such code-mixing I just heard in the last 5 minutes:
Julianne: Je wish que je pourrais diver off le dock”
[I wish I could dive (with French verb ending) off the dock]
What I normally do is repeat what they say by giving them the right words. In this case, I could have said: “Ah oui? Tu souhaites de plonger en bas du quai ? Vas-y!” [Oh ya? You wish you could dive off the dock? Go for it!”].
Sometimes they repeat what I have just said and other times they carry on with what they were doing.
The interesting thing is this: very seldom do they use French words when they speak English. It’s usually the other way around. They use English words when I know for a fact that they have the French words in their vocabulary. Other times, I catch my three French-native children speak English to each other, like the example above, which is a great thing don’t get me wrong but I worry at times that they don’t get enough French exposure. In this age of iPods, iPads, AppleTV, Netflix and iTunes, they are inundated with English media to the point that French TV and French music are now the less preferred choices. I try to purchase French TV series and French music when I can, but it’s as though their default for media is now English.
We try to set some time aside a few days a week to read in French. Luckily, French is still their default language when it comes to reading. Mainly because in Ontario, they only formally learn to read in English in grade 4, at the age of 10. Why do I care so much? I guess it’s because French is the minority language here. Kids and teenagers usually end up speaking English to each other, even if they all have French as their first language. Most Francophone adults, who are actually bilingual (English as the second language), end up working in English the minute they get their first job. Work in French is usually limited to positions within the French school boards or specific government-funded programs that promote the French language. So English ends up being heard and used all over the place. Since French is my heritage language, I really want to pass down that heritage, culture and language to my kids. My husband, who learned French as the kids spoke their first words, is also very intrigued by our kids’ use of their two languages. He will often ask them to speak French to each other or better yet, point out to them when they are mixing up their languages! He understands the value of encouraging the use of the minority language and for that I am grateful.
It’s a real battle. I’m extremely conscious of the importance of promoting the French (or minority) language to our young ones, but I struggle with the means to meet that end!
Here are a few tips and tricks that have worked for us:
For more tips, check out these handouts that I have created:
Photo caption: A picture of the lake at my cottage
It has been a few months since my last post. I’ve been extremely busy at work with a departmental move and with my graduate students who are finishing up their theses! Hang in there guys! I’ve also been working on an article that I hope to see published soon. On a personal level, I’ve been busy with my kids’ extracurricular activities, school projects and just hanging out with them! I’m setting more and more time aside as they get older to spend quality time with them. I learn so much from them when we do and I’ve come to cherish those moments.
Photo caption: My kids and I making sugar cookies for the holidays.
A year has gone by since the launch of this blog and my website and I have so much to be thankful for. The positive feedback I have received from many parents, family members and colleagues is the reason why I look forward to another great year. Over the past twelve months, I have learned so much more about bilingualism, specific language impairment and ADHD. In part due to my personal life and also due to my research and this blog. It has been an exciting year!
My husband can now be seen on social medias, newspapers and on billboards across several cities and towns in North-Eastern Ontario as the poster boy for bilingualism! It’s kind of a long story. In a nutshell, I was approached by my kids’ school board back in December as they searched for a family that had a parent whose kids taught them French as a second language. I didn’t have much time to think about it as they needed to do the photo shoot the following week in order to launch their new campaign right after the holidays. So I said “yes”! Good thing my husband is a good sport. It was fun! A photographer and two staff members came to our house and took pictures of my husband interacting with my daughters. My son chose to opt out of this one but my daughters felt like stars.
Photo caption: My husband, my daughter and the photographer during the photo shoot.
Slogans such as “My daughter is helping me learn French. C’est magnifique” can be seen in airports and on billboards. As part of this campaign, the schools are even offering French as a second language classes to its anglophophone parents and guardians whose children are enrolled in French school, which I think is a fantastic initiative!
Photo caption: Clipping from our local Newspaper.
Speaking of social media, after participating in a French cultural event at my kids’ school, my husband recently posted this comment on Facebook:
“I must admit I'm super impressed with my kids school board CSPGNO (French Public). Besides the fact that I'm the "bilingual mascot" [insert humour] they hold the most amazing French culture events like the Folie Furieuse, an all day French song based lip sing/dance and games. Matt's [my son] school won the dance. I realized afterwards that the English school boards don't need to worry about the loss of their culture and language. Their [French schools] enthusiasm and commitment is contagious.”
When I read his post, it really made me think about how much I take for granted. That even after all these years of us being together, the fact that minority language speakers constantly have to make great efforts to preserve their language and culture was not a concept that he fully appreciated. Well I assure you that after reading my posts (most of them anyway), participating in a bilingualism campaign and taking part in our kids’ cultural activities, he now understands why we francophones fight for our heritage language! I think it gives him a better understanding of the importance of raising our kids bilingually too.
Because that wasn’t enough excitement, I was also invited to post on Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC)’s blog called Communiqué as well as talk about my research on a morning radio show for Radio Canada.
Photo caption: My interview with Radio Canada
All these events made me realize that I truly love what I do. I love spreading the word about the advantages of raising bilingual children and I love knowing that I might be helping children who struggle with language, be it their first or their second language.
To top it off, in less than a month, my students and I (mostly my students) will be presenting our research at Speech-Language and Audiology Canada’s 2016 Conference in Halifax (April 27-30).
You may have noticed that I have also launched the French side of my website and blog. It still needs work, but I’m working on it!
Oh, and did I mention that I pushed my personal limits to the edge? Literally! I did the Edge Walk around the CN Tower back in November! What does this have to do with bilingualism? Nothing. I just had to share since it was pretty darn wild!
Photo caption: The Edge Walk around the CN tower. Just hanging out!
In an effort to keep the ball rolling, I am already thinking ahead to the summer of 2017! I will soon be sending in a proposal to present at the 14th International Congress for the Study of Child Language (IASCL) which will be held in Lyon, France in July 2017. I look forward to being immersed in a French majority country, and eating baguettes and good cheese of course!
This past year was made possible due to your continued support! Thank you for reading! Please continue to share my posts and invite your friends to like my Facebook page. I hope that you will find my posts and handouts useful! Let me know if you would like me to write about anything in particular. I will also be launching a Q & A page shortly so if you have any questions, feel free to ask them by leaving comments below or my emailing me at email@example.com or by messaging me on Facebook.
Chantal Mayer-Crittenden, 2016
In this post, I would like to briefly touch on bilingualism and language impairment. That is to say, can children with language impairments successfully learn more than one language? As a speech and language pathologist, parents often ask me this question about their children, especially when it comes to choosing the language of instruction. It’s not an easy answer to give. It really depends on many factors, lets start first with what some of the experts have found.
In my practice, I often fall back on the work of two researchers: Dr. Kathryn Kohnert, speech and language pathologist and professor at the University of Minnesota and Dr. Fred Genesee, psychologist and professor at McGill University. Dr. Kohnert talks about the essential elements that are inherently related to the acquisition of a language. Language skills are developed in terms of Means, Opportunities and Motives. She calls it “MOM”. The individual must have, first and foremost, the Means to learn a language. That is, unimpaired cognitive, sensory, social, emotional, and neurobiological systems. Any deficiencies within these systems may cause difficulties in the acquisition and use of language. Second, Opportunities that offer a rich linguistic environment as well as positive Opportunities allowing for the acquisition and use of a particular language for rewarding communicative interactions must be present. Finally, the Motivation that may come from various sources is of ultimate importance: be it internal or external resources, environmental needs, opportunities and preferences associated with various social contexts. All these factors play an essential role in the acquisition and maintenance of language among children. Be it a first language or a second language. Children with specific language impairments have no frank neurological impairments, which means that they too can learn two languages if they are provided with opportunities and if they are MOTIVATED to learn both languages.
In most cases, the children that I work with have the Means. However, because we live in a predominantly English community, it’s often the Opportunities and the Motives that are not up to par when children are also learning a minority language. This is especially true when almost all of the adults who speak the minority language also speak the majority language… Children sometimes just don’t see the need to put so much effort into learning the minority language. It is therefore our job, as parents, clinicians and educators, to ensure that children understand WHY they are learning two languages and give them reasons to WANT to speak BOTH languages.
Dr. Genesee talks more about what is required for learning a second language. It’s as simple as TLC. After all, everyone needs a bit of Tender, Loving Care! However, for him, TLC stands for Thoughtful, Long-term Commitment and Creating an additive learning environment. He actually gave a very interesting lecture called “Early childhood bilingualism: Perils and Possibilities” on the Minerva series where he describes these elements in detail. You can listen to his podcast here. I will summarize them briefly for you but I do recommend you listen to the podcast.
Thoughtful essentially represents that our job as parents is to plan our child’s language learning experiences so that our children obtain adequate exposure to both (all) languages. We need to make decisions about who uses what language and when as well as provide continuous and regular exposure to both languages. Bilingualism is a Long-term commitment. Parents need to be prepared and stick with it as well as make long-term arrangements that will ensure continuous exposure to both languages. It is important for parents to not change strategies or schools without serious thought. Finally, Dr. Genesee talks about creating an additive learning environment. The learning environment is crucial. While children have the capacity for dual language competence in the long run, it is not automatic and depends on the quality of the input. Parents need to be confident and to highlight the positive aspects of being bilingual. Creating opportunities to expand language learning such as playgroups, family holidays, regular visits with family members who speak the heritage language, etc. is of the utmost importance. Even when family members live far away, a lot can be done via Skype or Face Time. Here is a link to one parent’s blog who gives insightful ideas on how to make the most of Skype. Last but not least, we need to advocate for our child’s bilingualism. If we don’t, no one else will!
To the question: Is bilingualism and SLI a walk in the park?, I answer “No”. But - there’s always a ‘but’ - neither is monolingualism and SLI. Children with SLI have difficulty learning language. Period. Be it one language or two, they will struggle. Bilingualism is possible and it is worth it if the two languages are valued in the family. For bilingual children who have SLI, the answer is not as simple as dropping one language. Nor should it be. The heritage language is just that: part of a child’s heritage. We need to remember that bilingualism isn’t always a choice, it’s intrinsically linked to our culture and it’s a way of life. Did you know that there are more bilingual speakers in the world than there are monolingual speakers? Yet we always seem to think that bilingualism is an exceptional thing! It’s not rocket science, we just need lots of patience and TLC! Like Marianna Du Bosq often says on her Bilingual Avenue Podcast: Bilingualism is a marathon, not a sprint! Embrace your child’s bilingualism especially if the minority language is part of your heritage. There are a lot of resources out there, many of which I will share on this blog in future posts. Thanks for reading!
My next post will be on May 4th: "What IS a Heritage Language and Why is it Sometimes Difficult to Learn?"
Welcome! I am so excited to finally launch this blog that I have been working on for quite some time now. This is an easy way for me to share with my fellow speech-language pathologists, as well as with other parents, my journey as a bilingual parent and as a researcher studying a very common, yet practically unknown (to the public) disorder called specific language impairment (SLI), more specifically in bilingual children who live in a linguistic minority context.
To start, let me tell you a bit about myself. I am currently an associate professor in the Speech and language pathology program at Laurentian University in Sudbury Ontario, Canada. I graduated as a Speech and Language Pathologist in 2002 and worked as a clinician for several years before joining the academia world. I was first compelled to pursue my doctoral studies while working for a French School Board, in French-medium schools, and found myself trying to determine if the children I was assessing had language difficulties that were due to a language impairment, or to the fact that they were in the process of learning a second language. More and more English-speaking children are enrolled in French-medium schools, making it increasingly difficult to make this distinction. With very few resources and a lack of standardized tools in Ontario-French, I immediately knew that I needed to find the answers outside of the clinical world, which lead me to submit my application to a PhD program. Fast forward a few years, my thesis "Second Language Learning for Majority-Language children in a Minority Context: Language Impairment or typical second language development?", which I successfully completed in 2013, focused on the assessment and the identification of children with and without SLI in a community where French is the minority language and English is the majority language.
On a more personal level, I am a proud mother of 3 wonderful children and wife to an amazing husband. Together, we are raising our kids bilingual. My first language is French and my husband's is English. We decided even before our first child was born to introduce French as our kids' first language for the simple reason that English is easily acquired in our community since it is spoken by 70% of the population. We wanted to make sure that our kids had a good foundation in French, a minority language, before learning the majority language. It was very important for us to give our kids the gift of bilingualism. Turns out, my husband has benefited from this language structure as well. Over the past 9 years, he has come a very long way in learning French as his second language! Having spent many years in and around the French medium school systems, this is a very common scenario where one parent is French and the other English with their kids attending a French school. This allows me to see, experience and study first hand how this exact scenario impacts the learning and development of my own three children.
In order to gain a broader perspective on the topic, I have also attended several conferences all over the World whenever I can (not a bad perk since I love to travel!). I have had the opportunity to present some of my findings at the National and International levels and have had the distinct pleasure of meeting many of the top researchers in my field. One of my most memorable meetings was with my colleague Elin Thordardottir in Cyprus back in 2009 who shares the same interests...funny how we both had to travel half way around the World in order to meet! We have since collaborated on many studies together and she has been pivotal in helping advance my chosen study. Another very beneficial trip for me was the Bilingual-SLI Conference in Denmark in 2010. I had the privilege of attending a 2-day PhD workshop prior to the start of the conference where I was able to receive input from top researchers such as Dorothy Bishop and Katherine Kohnert, among others. More recently, in Amsterdam-Netherlands (2014), I met a PhD student who was studying under Tina Hickey and learnt that there is a very similar linguistic scenario to the one here in Ontario, except in Ireland English-speaking kids are enrolled in Irish-medium schools to learn Irish, the minority language as a second language! I knew after meeting such wonderful people that this was what I was meant to study!
I came up with the title for this blog "Bilingualism in Ontario: communication disOrders and Typical development (BOOT)" in 2013 with my graduate and undergraduate students as we were trying to find a name for our research group. We have since created several mottos that relate to BOOT such as : "Always one step ahead"; "Innovation, one step at a time" and "An important step in SLP research". My kids came up with the concept for the logo, which I find so fitting since had it not been for them, I would not have had the drive and perseverance to study bilingualism and language impairments in a minority context like I do now.
As a speech-language pathologist (SLP), I always knew the meaning of specific language impairment (SLI), as defined in our textbooks, but I never fully understood what it "looked" like in real life. My next post will focus on how I gained insight on this disorder, both inside and out. In future posts, I will also write about learning two languages in different contexts. Living in Northern Ontario, bilingualism is often forced upon those of us who speak French as a first language. I don't even remember learning English. It just kind of happened! But what if it doesn't "just happen"? Research has shown that children with SLI can learn a second language with adequate support and exposure to both languages. In this blog, I will write about useful ways to increase input in both languages and how to overcome certain difficulties. I will also write about the importance of being involved as a parent and about the conscious commitment that parents need to make when deciding to raise their child bilingual.
Even though French is my first language, I decided to post in English, the Lingua Franca of the world, in order to reach a larger audience. My hopes are to translate each post into French in the near future. However, in the mean time, I encourage readers to post comments or questions in both languages. Thank you for reading!