Scholarly research on bilingualism and multilingualism

So there I was…casually browsing scholarly literature on raising bi/multilingual children, when University of Ottawa’s Dr. Nikolay Slavkov‘s research caught my attention. In a peer-reviewed article published by International Journal of Multilingualism (Routledge), Slavkov concludes regarding three factors related to a child’s development as an active or passive bi/multilingual.

Slavkov finds three factors to have a positive association on whether a child develops as an active or passive bi/multilingual:

  • heritage-language school enrollment
  • use of minority language with a sibling
  • the development of literacy skills in a minority language

Slavkov writes “what these variables seem to have in common is a strong level of active commitment on the parents’ part. That is, one could argue that a higher degree of effort and time investment from the parents is necessary to help a child acquire minority language literacy, to commit to heritage-language classes on weekends, and to institute a family policy that encourages or possibly requires siblings to speak in a minority language with one another.”

Now, what about reading books and watching TV, doesn’t that teach the kids?

Slavkov finds that reading books to the child in a minority language or letting the child watch TV or engage with multimedia resources in a minority language seem to have a somewhat lower effort and time commitment value.

Yet, every little bit counts and adds up in the end.


Published by Smallest Scholars

Smallest Scholars is an online resource and independent publisher that provides materials and information for those raising (and supporting) multilingual children. We offer original publications as well as useful information about other publishing and media outlets that provide quality Ukrainian language products.

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