Public engagement

Talks and workshops

Raising a bilingual child is not always an easy task. Believe me, I know, I’m raising bilingual children as well as researching them!

Research has however shown that raising children bilingually can have many advantages. Indeed, bringing up a bilingual child can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can sometimes require patience and self-discipline. It can also raise many questions. While we do not (yet) know the answers to all these questions, there are several clear-cut findings which have emerged from research with bilingual children in the past years.

I regularly share these findings and my own experiences as a bilingual mum at workshops and informal talks for parents, educators, teacher trainees and other professionals. And I have a podcast all about bilingual children, Kletsheads. It started in October 2019 in Dutch (now in its second season) and in November 2020, I launched an English-language edition. Listening to the stories and experiences of other bilingual parents also serves as an inspiration for my own research.

Kletskoppen kindertaalfestival

Together with colleagues at the Centre for Language Studies and Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, I initiated the Kletskoppen “Chatterboxes” child language festival, a science festival all about language and how its learned for children and their families, held in the central library here in Nijmegen. The third edition took place – just before the pandemic broke out – on a very special date: February 29th, 2020. The fourth edition is scheduled for March 6th, 2022.

Kletskoppen kindertaalfestival, 2020

Kletsheads podcast

Kletsheads is the podcast all about bilingual children for parents, teachers and speech language therapists. What can you expect if you’re raising your children bilingually? What’s important? What will help your children’s language development and what won’t? In each episode, I discuss the science behind the language development of bilingual children with another expert. Along the way, there are practical tips, we hear from children about what it’s like growing up with two or more languages, and we talk to parents and professionals about their experiences with bilingual children. The Dutch edition is available at www.kletsheadspodcast.nl and the English edition at www.kletsheadspodcast.org). Or search for Kletsheads [English edition] or Kletsheads [Nederlandse editie] in Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast app. 

Meertaligheid in beeld

Animated clips about bilingualism and bilingual children for primary school children and their teachers. Read more about the clips and how you can use them here. In April 2020 we also created English-language versions (access them here) of Versions in Polish, Turkish and Arabic will be launched in November 2021.

Blogs


Since 2014 I have been working with colleagues at meertalig.nl, an (inter)active centre about multilingual children for parents and professionals, run by colleagues at De Taalstudio. I’m on the editorial committee and occasionally write blogs for the site.

Prizes

In 2018 I was awarded a prize by Nijmegen library for inspiring others to read and write. What an honour!

In the same year, Gerrit Jan Kootstra and I won the LOT (Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics) annual prize for popularising linguistics for Meertaligheid in Beeld.

In 2019, the Kletskoppen team won the Prijs der Humanoria from our faculty. Pim Franssen (the festival’s coordinator) and I picked up the prize.