According to a recent report by the Belgian government organization Kind en Gezin (Child and Family), immigrant parents should speak in their mother tongue with their children so that the child will learn her mother language naturally and having established a solid foundation in the language her parents speak best, she’ll move on to learn the language of the country she lives in very well.
However I could not find a lot of information about the case where one of the parents is multilingual. For our son we plan that I speak in Turkish and my wife speaks in Dutch. A British professor, who is married to his Turkish wife, also suggested something similar recently. He said that his wife also tried to speak in English to their child but since her wife learned English as a foreign language the child got natural British accent from the father but due to mother’s situation the child did some subtle mistakes in English and later in French. So he suggested that each parent uses whatever his / her mother tongue is when communicating with the child. This sounds reasonable but I’ll definitely do more research about it, hoping to satisfy my curiosity with more data and statistical evidence.
What are your ideas or experiences in this subject? Or what are you curious about? Feel free to share.
PS: Here’s another interesting recent article from Guardian: Speaking up for the mother tongue – Denying children education in their first language is holding back communities and development goals.