Bilingual Siblings: Language Use in Families

Author: Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert

Related Formats:
Paperback, Ebook(PDF), Ebook(EPUB)
Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
225mm x 170mm
Price: £79.95
Price: $109.95
Price: €94.95

How do bilingual brothers and sisters talk to each other? Sibling language use is an uncharted area in studies of bilingualism. From a perspective of independent researcher and parent of three bilingual children Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert discusses the issues of a growing bilingual or multilingual family. What happens when there are two or more children at different stages of language development? Do all the siblings speak the same languages? Which language(s) do the siblings prefer to speak together? Could one child refuse to speak one language while another child is fluently bilingual? How do the factors of birth order, personality or family size interact in language production? With data from over 100 international families this book investigates the reality of family life with two or more children and languages.

Multilingual parents are often surprised by the different language preferences of their children. Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert shows just how dynamic the family language situation becomes with the arrival of younger siblings, thus putting the finger on an under-researched area of bilingualism research. She combines academic rigor with extensive hands-on experience and manages to present the issues with vivid descriptions and insightful comments and suggestions. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in bilingual and multilingual families.

A resounding cheer goes out to Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert for writing this insightful, informative and truly essential book for families raising more than one child in more than one language. This book is packed with research, family profiles, an overview of various myths, personal stories, and much, much more. It is an amazing resource for anyone eager to understand why bilingual children in the same family develop along uniquely individual linguistic paths. My only regret is that this book was not around many years ago before my three children were born.

Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert independently researches bilingual families and their language patterns. She is the author of Language Strategies for Bilingual Families: the one-parent-one-language approach (2004, Multilingual Matters). Suzanne is British, married to a Frenchman, and lives in France with their three bilingual children aged 13, 11 and 7. Suzanne advises families through Bilingual Support Groups in France and writes on education and bringing up children with two languages.


Chapter 1 – What do we know about Bilingual Families?

Chapter 2 – The Growing and Evolving Family

Chapter 3 – The Sibling Relationship

Chapter 4 – Age Difference, Family Size & Language Orders

Chapter 5 – Gender & Language

Chapter 6 – Birth Order: A Child's Position in the Family

Chapter 7 – Individual Differences: Same Languages, Different Language Histories

Chapter 8 – Bilingualism and Twins, Adoption, Single parents & Step-families

Chapter 9 – Five Themes on Family Language Use

General, Undergraduate, Text
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