Multilingualism in my family


In academia, which is where my background lies, the literature often focuses on ideal situations where one parent speaks one language or where the family speaks one language and the other one is learnt from outside the home. This is because exposure is easy to measure and children are more easily assessed and studied.

However, there are many different types of multilingual families, all very successful and many different strategies used by all of them. No bilingual family is exactly like another one. Everyone is unique.

In this series, I am posting interviews with multilingual families. They answer questions relating to their multilingual family settings and how it works (or not) for them. Who speaks what, how and why?

My aim is to show there is not one way of doing things and that you can raise multilingual children in many different ways. I hope this inspires you a little if you are raising multilingual children too.

You can see all of them here, click on a location on the map below or browse by language, strategy used or children's age group.

Here are our families so far (by chronological order of publication):

Families by languages spoken

Afrikaans: Michelle
Creole: Sarah R,
Dutch: Olga,
Filipino: Luisa
French: Cordelia, Julie, Nichola, Mymy, Sarah R,
German: Julie, Olga,
Hawaiian: Sarah R,
Japanese: Jen
Mandarin: Luisa,
Norwegian: Claudia,
Polish: Olga
Portuguese: Claudia
Romanian: Sandra,
Spanish: Michelle, Cordelia, Mymy,
Thai: Cordelia
Turkish: Julie

Families by strategies used

Non-native speakers

By children's ages


I would love to learn about your experience, how you learn languages in your family. Please write to me at: thepiripirilexicon AT gmail DOT com or leave a comment below with your contact details and I will be in touch.

1 comment

  1. I've just been browsing around your blog after commenting on your #SilentSunday photo and really love this series. Mulitlingualism is so fascinating. Reading these stories I feel my family is very ordinary, *only* 2 languages! Having lived in 9 countries I now live in a very international part of the south of France and have friends from everywhere. Pretty much all our friends around here speak at least 2 languages and some many more. It makes life so interesting. I'd love to be part of this series if you'd have me. I'll send you an email.


Thank you for your feedback.