Parents’ perspectives towards home language and bilingual development of preschool children

Nichole Leigh Mosty, Samúel Lefever, Hrafnhildur Ragnarsdóttir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parents in households where more than one language is spoken are faced with decisions regarding their children’s language upbringing. These parents don’t necessarily calculate the advantages and disadvantages of raising their children to speak more than one language, but the choices they must make include deciding which languages to teach their children, how to teach them and when to begin. If parents have positive views towards bilingualism, they are likely to use their mother tongue in the home and want their children to learn it, even if it is a minority language. Since preschool-aged children are in the throngs of language acquisition, it is important for parents who speak a minority home language to make in-formed and conscious decisions about their children’s home language development.
In this mixed method study, 43 parents of preschool children participated in a quantitative survey with questions pertaining to language use, home language environment and reasons for home language development. Six of the participants also took part in qualitative interviews. The purpose of the study was to explore parents’ perspectives about their children’s home language and bilingual development and how they facilitated language development in the home. Results indicated that these parents had overwhelmingly positive perspectives both about their children’s home language use and their Icelandic language development. Communication in the home language was seen as important for learning the language, and parents made conscious decisions as to why and how the home language was used. Moreover, travel to the home country was important to parents as it linked home language development with cultural and personal identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Publication statusPublished - 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Parents’ perspectives towards home language and bilingual development of preschool children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this