Family language policy among Québec-based parents raising multilingual infants and toddlers: A study of resources as a form of language management

  • Alexa Ahooja (Speaker)
  • Melanie Brouillard (Speaker)
  • Erin Quirk (Speaker)
  • Susan Ballinger (Speaker)
  • Linda Polka (Speaker)
  • Krista Byers-Heinlein (Speaker)
  • Kircher, R. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationAcademic


Many parents are vocal in their desire to raise proficiently multilingual children (Byers-Heinlein & Lew-Williams, 2013). Yet, the intergenerational transmission of multiple languages can pose challenges — especially if these languages include one or more heritage languages (HLs). Resources such as guidebooks and websites (i.e., parent-directed resources) as well as storybooks and games (i.e., child-directed resources) can provide parents with relevant information about raising children multilingually and with ways of engaging with their children in the languages they wish to transmit (Ahooja et al., in preparation). Such resources constitute a form of language management — that is, they are part of parents’ efforts to modify or influence the language practices of their children (King et al., 2008). This study investigates family language policy (FLP) — and more specifically language management through parent- and child-directed resources — among Québec-based parents raising infants and toddlers (0-4 years) multilingually. Quantitative and qualitative data collected by means of an online questionnaire (n=826) are analyzed to compare the awareness and use of, as well as desire for, resources of (1) parents passing on languages that included at least one HL (HL parents), and (2) parents passing on only the societal languages, English and French (non-HL parents). Quantitative data are analyzed statistically; qualitative data are examined by means of a corpus-assisted discourse study. The analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the topic (Kircher & Hawkey, in press). Results indicate that HL parents are significantly less satisfied with existing resources than non-HL parents, and further analyses are ongoing to explore differences between these two groups. Findings will be discussed to underline the implications of language management through resources for both types of families in the Québec and international context.
Period29 Nov 2021
Event titleDeuxième Symposium International Politique Linguistique Familiale
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • family language policy
  • language contact
  • multilingualism
  • multilingual development
  • resources
  • heritage languages
  • intergenerational language transmission