How well do your kids speak your mother tongue (2)

A while back I started two polls on LinkedIn’s ‘Childhood Bilingualism’ and ‘Expats in Japan’ forums. I asked parents to rate their children’s ability in the foreign parent’s mother tongue. Why?

The 5 categories were:

  1. On par with kids the same age back home (blue)
  2. Conversant, but struggle to give detail (red)
  3. Basic conversation skills (green)
  4. Struggle to get them speaking (purple)
  5. Barely using your native language (light blue)

People are still voting on these polls, but the ratio has changed only a little since last time (July 2012):

There were some comments on the poll that it wasn’t specific enough for any real conclusions to be drawn, so I’d like to make one point clear: This is not academic research!  This is a poll for parents who have children in a multi-cultural setting, not all of whom are experts in raising a bilingual child. I know I’m not.

I hoped that this poll would raise awareness of the differences that exist between bicultural families. Most likely the parents who answered yes to 1 & 2 are either sending their children to international schools, or the are actively seeking to improve their children’s language skills by themselves (my opinion only).

We have to take all polls with a pinch of salt, but it would seem clear that a difference does exist. If you have children and are raising them bilingually (or hoping to), which level would you place your child’s language at and why?

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