Honors Program Thesis (UNI Access Only)
Bilingualism; Child rearing;
Parents want to raise their children in caring, comfortable and nurturing environments, and they want to assist their children in any way possible. Parents may find the concept of raising children bilingually appealing, bilingual parents may want to share their own language and heritage with their children, or they may hope that having bilingual skills will afford their children a unique advantage.
One major question parents have is whether they should raise their child in a bilingual environment, and, if so, should the child learn one language as well as a second language from birth, or learn their second language slightly after their first language when the child begins their formal education.
The purpose of this project is to research and analyze existing literature for the potential advantages and disadvantages of raising a child bilingually, specifically Spanish to English. Spanish is the most spoken non-English language in the United States. According to the United States Census Bureau in 2011, 21% of our population over the age of 5 spoke a language other than English at home. As the inhabitants of our country become more diverse, the number of children learning more than one language from birth will likely increase as well. Because the number of Spanish users is continuing to grow in our country, focusing on the bilingual acquisition of the Spanish and English languages will apply to both concerns of current parents, and speech-language pathologists. Researching this area will provide clients and speech-language pathologists with important information to consider when deciding whether to advise parents to teach their child two languages from birth.
This topic is important because speech-language pathologists need to provide parents with accurate positives, negatives and useful information to assist them in creating the best environment possible in which to raise their child. It is also important to inform them of what raising a child bilingually means for the child’s language development and future communication skills. Parents should gather all of the information they can and make an informed and educated decision for their child. As speech-language pathologists, our job is to assist in the decision-making process and provide the parents with the tools to make the decision on their own. The advice given to these families will shape their lives and their children’s lives.
Date of Award
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
University Honors Designation
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors
1 PDF file (30 pages)
© 2014 Olivia Grace Hawley
Hawley, Olivia Grace, "Raising your child bilingually: advantages and disadvantages" (2014). Honors Program Theses. 136.