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​How To Decide Upon a Language

How To Decide Upon a Language

For some families, deciding what a child’s second language will be is easy. If there is already a native language spoken by relatives, that’s the obvious choice. It’s a great way to strengthen family bonds and teach your child more about your family’s culture.

But sometimes the choice isn’t so easy, particularly if bilingualism is being pursued solely for the benefit for your child, not because of a family reason.

So how can you decide which language to teach your child?


Examine your reasons. 

If you’re teaching bilingualism because you want your child to have an advantage later in life, you may want to pick a popular language that’s spoken by a lot of people. Good picks include Chinese, Spanish, French, or German.

You know a foreign language.

If you already know a language, that may be a compelling reason to teach that one. You’ll be able to impart your knowledge to your child while brushing up on your skills.

Whether you have an instructor nearby for that language.

If you have a neighbour, a relative, or a friend who knows a foreign language, it makes sense to at least consider that one since you’ll have accessible resources. Otherwise, you’ll have to look at if there is a teacher nearby that can be hired — you might not have many language choices in smaller towns or rural areas though.

What your child wants.

Older children may have a strong feeling about which language they want to learn. If they have a certain language in mind, let them pick that. They’ll be more motivated if they have a say in what they’re learning.