International experts’ recommendations for supporting families in home language maintenance

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background: More than half of the world’s children are multilingual. Despite the many known cognitive, academic, social, emotional and economic benefits of multilingualism many Australian children lose their home language upon school entry. Many parents and professionals report a lack of knowledge of how to effectively support home language maintenance where their heritage language is not the dominant language spoken in their social or national context.

Aim(s): The aim of this research is to investigate evidence-based practice for supporting home language maintenance.

Method: A constructivist grounded theory approach was applied to interviews conducted with 15 international experts in the fields of children’s multilingualism and home language maintenance. Experts were speech-language pathologists, linguists, psychologists, researchers and educators based in Australia, the US, Sweden, Vietnam, Portugal, Canada and Belgium. Data were analysed using constant comparison analysis.

Result(s): Five key themes emerged regarding the support of children’s multilingual development: (1) An ecological approach, (2) Visible and valued (3) Attitudes matter, (4) Make it fun, and (5) Hard but worth it. Each of these themes will be discussed and translated into practical applications for supporting multilingual development.

Conclusion: The effective transmission of languages requires collaborative actions between home, school, health services and community. With support, children can realise their potential as multilingual speakers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2021
EventBilingualism Matters Research Symposium - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 25 Oct 202126 Oct 2021


ConferenceBilingualism Matters Research Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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