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Early Bilingualism and Multilingualism

Parents’ and Caregivers’ Attitudes and Observations


Zofia Chłopek

The author investigates the development of children raised bilingually or multilingually. Parents and caregivers completed a questionnaire, providing information on 36 children growing up with two or more languages. Their responses indicate that bilingual and multilingual children usually develop as well as their monolingual peers, and sometimes even better. Some drawbacks of early bilingualism or multilingualism, such as a slight delay in the onset of speech production or asymmetrical language competences, are compensated for by several benefits of early acquisition of two or more mother tongues and early contacts with two or more cultures.

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I would like to express my deep gratitude to all the people without whom this book would not have been possible. Very special thanks go to all the parents and caregivers who enthusiastically responded to and took part in the study (in alphabetical order): Terence Clark-Ward, Elżbieta and Marek Idzikowscy, Magdalena and Alexander Ilgmann, Angelina Mikołajczyk, Tomasz Róg and Marta Książek-Róg, Gisela Smyrek, Alexander Wachowiak and the many others who preferred to remain anonymous.1 I would also like to warmly thank all the people who helped me to seek contact with multilingual families.

I am also immensely indebted to Danuta Stanulewicz, David Bridges and an anonymous reviewer for carefully proofreading the text and for their valuable remarks on the final version of the draft. Needless to add, all shortcomings of the present monograph are exclusively my own.

Last but not least, I would like to warmly thank my daughter, Joanna Chłopek, for enriching the book with her beautiful illustrations.

Wrocław, May 2015

1 Unfortunately, it was not easy for me to conduct the study. Many parents expressed their interest in the study and declared their readiness to participate, but eventually failed to return their completed questionnaires. It should also be explained that not all submitted questionnaires were used in the study. Several were excluded from the study because they did not meet the requirement that the children’s parents/caregivers should not deal with some...

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