Bilingual Families: A Practical Language Planning Guide

Author: Eowyn Crisfield

Related Formats:
Paperback, Hardback, Ebook(EPUB)
Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
225mm x 170mm
Price: £8.00
Price: $12.00
Price: €10.00

Does your family or community speak more than one language? Do you wonder how to help your children successfully learn or keep those languages? Do you want your children to have the gift of bilingualism and aren't sure where to start – or how to keep going?

Every multilingual family has unique language needs. Bilingual Families is a guide for you and your family. It combines academic research with practical advice to cover the essential elements in successful bilingual and multilingual development. Use this book to:

  • Learn about language goals – and how to set them
  • Create a 'living' family language plan that develops and grows with your family
  • Learn how to talk about multilingualism with your children and other key people in your children's life, like teachers and relatives
  • Recognise when you might need further support

An indispensable guide for your family's language journey.

This is a clear, engaging, and accessible guide for parents who are interested in raising their children with more than one language. Evidence-informed, yet simultaneously structured and written so as to truly facilitate parents' reflection and engagement, it offers practical and realistic advice. A must-read for any parent interested in bestowing the gift of language onto their children.

Victoria A. Murphy, University of Oxford, UK

Drawing on her extensive experience of working with families, educators, and policymakers concerned with language learning and multilingualism, Crisfield separates facts from fiction, offers a balanced assessment of the challenges as well as the opportunities associated with bilingual child-rearing, and provides immensely useful tools to guide discussion and rational decision-making within families.

Jim Cummins, University of Toronto, Canada

This book is a ground-breaking resource for all parents raising children bilingually. It not only explains the many contexts in which bilingualism can occur, but helps parents form the best plan for their particular multilingual situation. I will recommend it highly to many families I work with whose questions I couldn't answer before!

Ruth E. Van Reken, Co-author, Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds (3rd edn), Co-founder, Families in Global Transition

Bilingual Families is a much-welcomed guide not only for family reference but also for educators: it should belong in the library or staffroom of any school which is serious about considering the realities of bilingual and multilingual families.

EAL Journal, 2021

Crisfield does a very good job of communicating the factors involved in bi/multilingual language acquisition to families that have little prior knowledge on raising children bi/multilingually. The book is well-organized to help families understand why it could be beneficial for children to learn additional languages, what obstacles and challenges they might expect, and what support they need in their language journey. 

LINGUIST List 32.2459

Eowyn Crisfield is founder and principal of Crisfield Educational Consulting and Senior Lecturer in TESOL at Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has delivered her family language planning programme and insights through seminars, family language planning consultations, school consultations and her blog, On Raising Bilingual Children, for over 15 years. Eowyn and her mostly-monolingual partner are raising three multilingual children...with varying degrees of success!

Acknowledgements and Thanks

Introduction: About the Book

The Structure of the Book

Chapter 1: Demystifying Bilingualism
The Case for Bilingualism
Moving from Fiction to Fact

Chapter 2: Family Language Planning
Set Your Goals
Creating a Family Language Plan

Chapter 3: Supporting your Family Language Plan
Conversations with Your Children
Conversations with Other People
Know When to Get Help

Concluding Remarks

Glossary of Terms

Appendix A: Sample Family Language Plan

Appendix B: School Planner 



General, Research / Professional
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