Happylingual: A Family Project for Enhancing and Balancing Multilingual Development

  • Shulamit KopeliovichEmail author
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 7)


The present chapter analyzes the author’s 12-year-long project in the field of Family Language Policy based on her own experience of raising a Russian-Hebrew bilingual family in Israel. The project depicts the linguistic development of four siblings (4, 7, 9 and 12 at present) from their birth till the present moment. The chapter focuses on rapidly changing patterns of interaction between them, on the emergence and evolution of the parents’ language management strategies. Literacy skills in the heritage language are emphasized in this project: their development presents both a serious challenge and a powerful tool promoting Russian maintenance in the family. Being deeply rooted in the principles of linguistic ecology, the family project of multilingual child rearing is attuned to the challenges of living in a multilingual society, to the psychological needs of multilingual family members and to the linguistic properties of the Hebrew-influenced contact variety of Russian sustained by the second generation of immigrants in Israel. The methodology of the present research comprises detailed ethnographic observations systematically recorded on paper, collection of artifacts (the children’s drawings and writing samples), more than 100 h of audio and video recordings yielding vivid insights into the interaction between the siblings and into the individual linguistic development of each child. These traditional methods of data collecting in the field of bilingual development are complemented by the action research methodology that helps to initiate, analyze and improve family educational activities enhancing the heritage language maintenance within a balanced multilingual framework.


Young Sibling Preschool Teacher Bilingual Child Heritage Language Hebrew Word 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English as a Foreign Language UnitBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael
  2. 2.Department of EnglishHertzog CollegeAlon-ShevutIsrael

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