The â€œone-parent-one languageâ€ (OPOL) approach is regarded as the most common family language system in use to attempt to raise bilingual or multilingual children. With the OPOL approach, each parent or caregiver consistently speaks only one language to the child.
It is often believed that consistency or strict OPOL is the key to the succuess of perfect bilingualism.
However, how consistently or strictly we should follow OPOL rule?
Do we have to pretend not to understand if the child asks us something in the non-target language? Can we switch language in front of children when talking outside of the four walls? Can we allow a certain degree of language-switching, code-mixing, or flexibility? Do extra “language supplements,” such as playgroups, visits from family, or a trip to the country, help children achieve perfect bilingualism if OPOL is not religously followed?
As a parent who is greatly interested in brining up baby bilingual, I particularly want to find out answers to these questions, and discover a realistic way to adapt OPOL to suit my family.
I am beginning a new series on the topics of OPOL. Today, I am reviewing some research done on OPOL system and child bilingualism.