Mother tongues

Johan Leman, 19 February 2022

May I draw your attention to our podcast with Mrs Hilde De Smedt about mother tongue at home. First we agree on what we mean by a mother tongue: it is the language that someone experiences most emotionally at home. Usually it will also be a language that he/she has mastered well to some extent. The emotional identification is important. In principle, a person can have more than one mother tongue.

And then the question arises: what do you do with your child and with a mother tongue at home, if the school itself actually uses other languages?

The advice of Foyer’s Language Advice Unit is: do something with that mother tongue at home. Do not pretend that the mother tongue does not exist, or that it is of no use to your child. Use that language to interact together and linguistically, parent and child. Isn’t this indeed the best way to prevent your child from going through life with only a limited vocabulary, because his/her world is limited to the school language?