Critiques de livres / Books reviews

Family Language Learning - Learn Another Language, Raise Bilingual Children by Christine Jernigan (owner of BilingualWiki) is a different type of a book. It is extremely interesting and I enjoyed it myself immensely. Christine Jernigan says it in her introduction: It is not a book for bilingual parenting. So what is it then? It is a book for "people who are still learning a second language they want to impart to their children" (page ix). So it is for parents who are themselves learning a foreign language and are wishing to pass it on to their children.

The author is very much interested in presenting how you can raise your children with a foreign language that you are yourself in the process of learning - which she did herself with her own children raising them in English and Portuguese). Her book is for parents who did not grow up speaking two languages. It is also aimed at "native speaker of one language (…) living in a country with a different majority language" (page x), as well as those wishing "to raise your child bilingually… through immersion programs… a nanny who speaks the second language…. home-schooling parents...

Although Christine Jernigan is an academic, she writes in a non-academic manner. The book is full of examples, full of tips. She takes from families she has been talking to. She talks about success, but also failure. It is a very easy book to read and does not have to be read from beginning to end, it is not  a "textbook"(page xiii). She points out one disadvantage that mixed marriages do have which is : "If you are a non-native speaker… you may feel at a disadvantage (…) Non-native parents might (…) feel behind culturally. They know the right words, but not the right customs behind what they are saying." (page 150). It is often said that language and culture make one and that you cannot have a language without the culture where it is spoken. It is sure that Christine Jernigan is a great advocate of raising children with more than one language at home, even though she knows it will be the language without the culture attached to it.

I would recommend this book to all parents who are choosing to raise their children with more than one language at home especially when they are not native speakers of that language.

(16 February 2015) 

Colin Baker's "A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism"

"What are the advantages of my child becomin bilingual?" This is one of the many questions to which the Guide : A Parents and Teachers Guide to Bilingualism Guide tries to answer.

Presented in a very handy manner of questions and answers, this guide is certainly one of "must-have" to answer many of the worries and concerns we might have in trying to raise our children in a bilingual manner.

Each of the five mains sections is answering a different view such as the language development, reading ans writng, or even education. Each section answering a number of questions each of us may have. No topic seems to have been left behind as question such as dyslexia, autism and bilingualism are also answered in a very clear manner. 

Colin Baker's Guide is a useful reference book for every family who wishes to enter the road of bilingualism.

It is very handy to use. It does not have to be read like any other books as you can go from one question to another one in the order you like. At the end, you will find a very handy glossary with many terms and heir exact definition.

It is a book every bilingual family should have in their bookshelf.

I would also say that it is also a Guide that any teacher who has bilingual children is his ou her class should have as teaching bilingual children could be a real challenge for them.


I wish to thank the publisher for asking me to review this Guide and I am delighted to say that, even though I knew most of the answers given, i am delighted to have done it. I wish everyone to enjoy this Guide as much as I do and I would recommend it to anyone who wished to raise bilingual children.

(19 May 2014)