4th Edition

Growing Up with Two Languages A Practical Guide for Multilingual Families and Those Who Support Them

By Una Cunningham Copyright 2020
    218 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    218 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Growing Up with Two Languages provides a highly accessible account of the stages of language development, describes and evaluates the various systems and strategies that can be adopted and looks at the problems that can occur when a child is exposed to two languages and cultures.

    Combining research-informed advice and the experience of parents raising children as speakers of a wide range of languages in every populated continent in the world, this book and its associated web material will answer questions, offer tried and tested strategies to keep children speaking a minority language, and provide material to enlist the support of the extended family, teachers and others. The perspective of adults who were themselves raised speaking more than one language is included. New to this edition is a chapter focusing on families raising children as speakers of indigenous and threatened languages as well as chapters for teachers and health professionals who want to know more about multilingual child language development and how they can support parents to continue speaking their language with their children. With new and updated first-hand advice, Internet resources and examples throughout, this book also includes a chapter that introduces important recent research into multilingual children and further reading guides for those who want to know more.

    This book is for parents who are raising or plan to raise children as speakers of more than one language, and for the teachers and healthcare workers who meet and can support them.



    1 Families with more than one language

    2 Expecting a child in a multilingual home

    3 The child with two or more languages

    4 Family language policy

    5 Practical parenting in a multilingual home

    6 Problems you may encounter

    7 Raising a child to speak an endangered or indigenous language

    8 Teachers and educational contexts

    9 Healthcare and other professionals

    10 Research and further reading

    Concluding words





    Una Cunningham is Professor of English Language Education at Stockholm University, Sweden. She has worked in language education in Sweden, Spain, Vietnam, Poland and New Zealand. She and her husband, Staffan Andersson, raised their four children to speak English and Swedish in Sweden.

    Every family with two languages should have this book!
    Stephen Ryan, The Bilingual Family Newsletter

    This is a truly valuable book for anyone living in a multilingual situation. Drawing on her own experience and on research, Una Cunningham addresses the questions that parents, teachers, and others may have about what’s best for children living multilingual lives. While the adults will welcome this book, its real value is in showing how we can enrich the lives of children growing up with two or more languages.

    John Macalister, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

    Based on sound research and personal experience, this book answers questions crucial for parents and educators embarking on a fascinating journey towards bilingual upbringing. Combining theory and practice, the book offers guidelines for practitioners as well as insights for students and researchers.

    Ewa Waniek-Klimczak, University of Łódź, Poland

    Una Cunningham shows to everyone who deals with bilingual children an intriguing but also clear path to successful bilingualism. Read this book - it will definitely support you in various situations.

    Natalia Gagarina, Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS), Germany

    Praise for the first edition:
    'A well-written and comprehensible guidebook ... offers readers the basic concepts of bilingualism and practical suggestions for the problems that naturally arise in everyday life.' - International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism

    'A book like this is decades overdue. ... Growing Up with Two Languages is an excellent guide for working through day-to-day issues of bilingual parenting and long-term strategies for dealing with such fundamental issues as children's cultural identity and social comfort.' - Naomi S. Baron, American University, Washington

    'Every family with two languages should have this book!' - Stephen Ryan, The Bilingual Family Newsletter

    'It's wonderful that this excellent resource for multilingual families has been updated. The original edition sits on a shelf at home with other well-worn companions of my early childrearing days, and I find it somehow comforting to know that the authors' children have - like my own sons - grown older, giving their parents not only new insights, but a renewed conviction that the multilingual path they chose for their family was the right one.' - Marina Zvetina, Board member, ImF - Interest Group for Multilingual Families in Germany