Bilingualism and bilingual family specialist Soile Pietikainen
Soile Pietikainen. Photo: Eva Slusarek

Soile's Blog

The blog is about what I think. For what I do, see the News. 

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My child won't speak my language. What should I do?

My children just won't speak Finnish. Especially my younger child, who is now 5, has never spoken Finnish. I speak Finnish to my children while both of them speak English fluently to me. How could I improve this situation?

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When to introduce a new language to a bilingual child? Part 2: School

Is "as early as possible" always the best time to introduce a new language to a bilingual child? No, it is not. For example, choosing and introducing a school language can be tricky in bilingual families. Here is your guide to considering the options. This article covers bilingual children going to the local school, how to assesses bilingual schools and how to plan schooling for globally mobile children as well as a reality check on what it takes to keep up with the minority language during school years. 

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When to introduce a new language to a bilingual child? Part 1: Family and Society

The ideal time to be introduced to a language depends on the role of the language in the child's life.  It is a common belief that parents should introduce multiple languages to children as early as possible to achieve the highest level of bilingualism. It’s not that’s simple. Here is your guide to the wise choices.

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Harmonious Bilingual Development

Is it possible to have a bilingual child that speaks two roughly balanced languages and loves having great conversations with you in the minority language? Welcome to Harmonious Bilingual Development. 

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Elephant Mum Q&A 2020: Bilingual family moving from Finland to Australia

We plan to move our Finnish-English bilingual family from Finland to Australia in about 4-5 years. How should we prepare? 

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The most important thing in bilingual parenting...

... is that the child becomes bilingual. Otherwise, what is the point? The one thing that really matters is the outcome for the children.

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Why I want to help children speak their parent's language?

My specialism area is quite narrow: How to help children to speak their parent's language? How on earth did I became hooked on such a question? This is how. 

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My child does not speak my language but understands it perfectly

We understand much more of a language than we are able to speak it. But what does it really mean when parents say that their bilingual child "understands perfectly". For my research I had to find out. 

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Bilingual Princess and the 20 second secret

What to do when each parent speaks their language to the baby, but the baby's words only come out in one language?