This is the old outdated version of "Bilingual Upbringing
of Children in the Home", please go to the new version!
Why a Bilingual Upbringing
Both my wife, Karola, and I come from purely monolingual German-speaking
families, i.e. no family links to other non-German-speaking relatives. So,
lots of people will and did ask, why do you do it?
There are lots of good reasons for doing so:
What also helped me to drive away doubts were the words of Henriette
Vent (1957) which I had found in the book "Bilingual Children: From
Birth to Teens" by George Saunders:
- Through the permanent engagement in another language an appreciation
for the culture(s) and the way of thinking of those who speak that language
will be increased or established. So there is a chance of becoming
- In the case of English, the importance of that language as the lingua
franca of our world makes English a perfect choice as a second
language. English was the only alternative in our situation, because neither
my wife nor I are fluent enough in any other language beside of English and
- We knew from our own experiences how difficult it is to learn foreign
languages at school and how easy it seemed to be for the bilingual children of
friends of ours. As this observation was confirmed by various expert opinions,
we thought that it would be worthwhile trying.
Even if children do not learn all the German words and even if their
speech may sometimes be halting, it is, in my opinion, far better to
teach them to know and speak some German than to drop it altogether
for fear of achieving mediocre results. I do not think that in
bringing up normally intelligent children bilingually, there is any
danger that their English will suffer and turn into a
hodgepodge. Their schooling, as well as the fact that most of their
day is spent speaking English outside the home should prevent that.
I just have to exchange German and English in the above text and
it perfectly reflects my thinking.
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telling me what you think about this page and how I might improve
last update: Sep 15, 2002