Why should parents speak their native language to their children?

March 9, 2014  17:58

Parents living abroad should talk to their children in their native language, says Ana Paula G. Mumy, a speech-language pathologist and a multilingual mother of two bilingual children.

According to multilingualliving.com, Mumy does not agree with those who think that parents should stop speaking the native language so that confusion is not created in their children, so that they can do well in school.

The thing is - the native language is the one in which parents are likely to be most dominant or proficient, which in turn is the language in which they are able to "provide quality language input as well as support effectively and consistently." "Even if a parent is able to pick up the language of the community, that parent's vocabulary, grammar skills, and ease of communication will probably remain stronger in the native language," Mumy says.

According to Mumy, there's a research that shows that children with strong first language skills are more ready and able to learn a second language. "In other words, it's difficult to build a second language if the first language foundation is not established and supported WHILE the second language is being learned," Mumy says. That's why she thinks that if parents put a halt on the native language, it will only hurt the child's language growth, and nothing good will come out of it.

So Mumy thinks children should learn their native language at home, and then they'll easily learn any second language when they go to school.


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