Multilingualism in my family: Heidi's story

5 Mar 2013

Welcome to our monthly instalment of Multilingualism in my family where we meet a different multilingual family showing us how they use their languages, what strategies they use and what struggle they have encountered. 
This week, we meet Heidi. She lives in the U.S.A. with her two children and husband where they speak Punjabi, Spanish and English.

Punjabi/English sign in England - photo by RPM on Flickr

1. Name


2. Blog

in the works...

3. In what country do you currently live?


4. How many children have you got and how old are they?

Hannah, 8 ½
Jacob, 5

5. Who speaks what to whom (in the home)?

My husband, Jag, speaks English and Punjabi
I speak English, Spanish and some Punjabi

6. What language do your children hear outside home?

My children hear English mostly at school; they have many cousins that speak Punjabi and Spanish.  Grandparents and Aunts/Uncles speak Punjabi to them.

7. If you had to put percentages on the languages your child(ren) hear what would they be?

80% English, 10% Punjabi & 10% Spanish

8. Did you set out to follow a particular method to raise your child(ren) multilingually? Why? Why not?

Coming from very different backgrounds, my husband and I have always wanted to teach our children different languages and encourage them to learn about different cultures.  Even at a young age it has allowed them to be open-minded and have respect for EVERYONE no matter where a person is from.

9. What works with your current family language set up? Why?

Right now my children are learning the basics of Punjabi and Spanish along with Chinese, French and Arabic.  We read books (I published books in all of these languages) on a regular basis that help them learn some of the fundamental words.

10. What doesn’t work? Why?

Of course with anything – it takes time!  We try to have a regular routine at minimum weekly, where we read my books and others to learn these words.

11. What would you do differently if you could or would have to do it again?

Probably start even younger...

12. Any other comments

I think it is amazing how there are so many blogs, websites, books now on teaching multilanguage.  There are so many benefits to this and it can only create more unity and wellness in this world.

Heidi can be contacted on Facebook or on Twitter

If you would like to take part in this serie, please contact me at thepiripirilexicon at A big thank you to Heidi for answering my questions.

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