Harmonious Bilingualism: A Chat with Dr. Annick De Houwer

Why do some children who grow up hearing two languages only use one? Our guest, Dr. Annick De Houwer, has been researching this question for years. De Houwer is a professor of language acquisition and multilingualism at the University of Erfurt in Germany and the founder of the Harmonious Bilingualism Network (HaBilNet). We spoke to her about her work, bilingual language development, and what she calls harmonious bilingualism.

© Nadia Frantsen, University of Oslo

De Houwer has conducted extensive research in the field of bilingual acquisition and language development. Her 1990 book “The acquisition of two languages from birth” is considered pioneering work in bilingual acquisition. In addition to her linguistic research, she also examines the socio-emotional aspects of early bilingualism. De Houwer introduced the concept of harmonious bilingual development in 2006.

Additional Resources

Cuéntamelo: Maleta Books

Alicia Sevillano Barja

Welcome to the first episode of Cuéntamelo: Your Bilingual Story, a series by Entre Dos in which we speak to parents, small business owners, authors, and others about their bilingual life. These episodes may be shorter than our regular episodes and a bit more personal. Today’s inaugural episode is different than what you’re accustomed to because it’s entirely in Spanish.

Our first guest is Alicia Sevillano Barja, founder of Maleta Books, a bookshop in Ontario, Canada specialized in Spanish language books. We spoke with Alicia about her bilingual family, the origins of Maleta Books, and her current top three favorite children’s books.

Generation Zero

In our first episode of 2021, we had a conversation with author Sabreet Kang Rajeev about her book, Generation Zero: Reclaiming My Parents’ American Dream, which tackles her family’s immigration story in America.

Identity and place can sometimes be abstract notions. They define who we are while also remaining elusive. In the process of integrating two or more cultures we are coming to terms with the things we’re ok with, the things we’re not ok with, and the things that are inevitable. In Generation Zero, Sabreet takes us through her struggles while also keeping her own parent’s experience in perspective. It’s a fascinating dance that many of us can relate to. 

Sabreet is a first-generation Indian American of Sikh descent. She’s a full-time social-science researcher and holds an MA in sociology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and BA in sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is currently completing her doctorate at the University of Baltimore.

To continue the conversation, join us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @entredospodcast. 

Parenting with an accent: A conversation with writer Masha Rumer

Raising children with two languages and cultures may sometimes feel like a constant negotiation between the two. In this episode, writer Masha Rumer talked to her about her experience raising English-Russian bilingual children in the U.S.

Masha Rumer

Masha lives in the Bay Area, where she writes about parenting and the immigrant experience. She is currently writing a book called Parenting with an Accent, which will be published by Beacon Press in 2021.

Mentioned in this episode

My Kids Can’t Sing Along to Sesame Street, But They Know Our Family’s Culture by Masha Rumer, Parents

Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability by Adam Beck

Bilingual: Life and Reality by Francois Grosjean

Dual Language Programs in the Pandemic: The story of Naperville 203.

In the past few weeks, the topic of the 2020-21 school year has reached a fever pitch, with good reason. As we pay close attention to the discussions surrounding PPE, social distancing, hybrid and virtual models, one thing that seems to be missing from most discussions is efforts to ensure continuity in the many dual-language programs across the nation. This is why we spoke with Rosa Campos, one of the organizers of Save Dual Language in Naperville, IL. The campaign is advocating for the dual language program to meet the language and cultural needs of its dual-language students, whether it be from a distance or in person.

A few days after we recorded our interview with Rosa, she sent us an update. The Naperville school district will offer specialized programs, like dual language, for all students. Congratulations to the organizers and most of all to the Naperville student body!

The Save Dual Language in Naperville campaign website will remain live to serve as a resource for other school communities that are experiencing changes in their dual-language program. You can also follow them on Twitter here.

Advocating for Bilingualism: A Call to Action

Advocating for our children is an inherent part of parenting. We do it every single day in both big and small ways. We know bilingualism is good and we want it for our children. So how can we advocate to make languages more accessible in our communities? In this episode, we begin exploring how you can go from knowing to doing with our guest, Amanda Seewald, the president-elect of the Joint National Committee for Languages. Think of it as a call to action.

Amanda Seewald

Amanda is the owner of Maracas Language Programs, has raised a bilingual daughter and son, and is an experienced language teacher. She spends much of her time advocating for language programs and policy.

Mentioned in this Episode

We Live Languages: A talk with Madalena Xanthopoulou

If you listen to this podcast, you probably have a language vision or goal for your family. Our guest, Madalena Xanthopoulou, founded We Live Languages to help multilingual families reach those goals by translating research into actionable steps. Madalena is trilingual and raising trilingual kids. She shared some very useful ideas for families to increase exposure and form communities of support through which they can foster language.

Madalena Xanthopoulou of We Live Languages

The We Live Languages website has tons of resources for multilingual families; you can take a quiz to determine the language profile of your home and read stories of families that are similar to yours.

The company is also launching a free email series on May 20 to help parents raising multilingual children. Sign up here and make sure you follow them on social media @welivelanguages

Mentioned in this Episode

Grassroots Community Digital Kit – free download by We Live Languages

Veoleo: Bringing kids programming to a screen near you

Sisters Janike and Alexis Ruginis started their own small book press when they realized there was a lack of Spanish-language books for young children in the U.S. Veoleo published its first book, ¿Dónde está el coquí? in 2018 and it’s currently working on two new books aimed at bilingual little ones.

Alexis & Janike Ruginis

In this episode, we talked to Alexis about their business and their current efforts to bring enjoyable activities to kids and families who are staying home due to COVID-19.

If you’re not familiar with Veoleo, check them out on Instagram @veoleo.co or sign up for their newsletter to learn about their upcoming virtual events and activities.

Language learning, family-style

Moving to another country where you don’t know the language can be challenging. Today’s guest, Elizabeth Quintal, did just that. Two-and-a-half years ago, she moved from Houston, Texas to Madrid, Spain with her husband and son, Grayson. We spoke to her about the transition and how they’re managing the strict lockdown due to COVID-19.

Elizabeth and her family in Paris.

You can find Elizabeth in several places on Instagram. She’s worth a follow for her poetry writing (@elizabethmquintal) and her family adventures and tips on advocacy and raising kind, empathetic kids (@cheekydays). She and her husband, Aaron, run a visual creative agency called The New Antiquarians.

Elizabeth’s poetry will also be featured in Alegria Magazine’s upcoming The Latinx Poetry Project, an anthology of poems by Latinx authors. The book is now available for pre-order through this link.

Moco y Baba: A grassroots language community

Having a community of support is such an essential part of raising bilingual children. Depending on the area you live in, finding that community can be hard – but it is possible to create your own. 

Johanna Arteaga, founder of Moco y Baba, and her daughter, Miranda.

Johanna Arteaga is the founder of Moco y Baba, a community of Spanish-speaking families in London. She also recently launched Cuéntamelo Books, an online bookstore that carries a curated selection of books from Latin America. Johanna talked to us about how she started Moco y Baba and gave us some tips and advice about how to start a language community in your area.

We talked to Johanna before COVID-19 completely changed the way we interact with each other and, although the group had to forgo in-person meetings temporarily, the community remains steadfast.

Effects of Bilingualism on English Reading Ability

Dr. Jackie Relyea

In this episode, we spoke to Dr. Jackie Relyea, assistant professor of Literacy Education at North Carolina State University. Her research looked at English reading growth in Spanish-speaking bilinguals.

Additional Reading

Reading in any Language Improves Reading Levels in English, Language Magazine, Sep. 27, 2019

English Reading Growth in Spanish‐Speaking Bilingual Students: Moderating Effect of English Proficiency on Cross‐Linguistic Influence, Child Development, July 16, 2019

Your Holiday Traditions

We’re in the midst of the holiday season and with that, all of the traditions that make them special. In this episode, we wanted to showcase traditions from our listeners, specifically the ones that help keep the heritage language and culture alive.

This will be our final episode of 2019. In the meantime, find us in our Facebook group and on Instagram. We’re excited to return next year. Thank you for your support!

“Story & Pictures By” – A Chat with Joanna Rudnick

In this episode, we talk to Joanna Rudnick, an Emmy nominated director and producer who is currently working on a documentary exploring the power and reach of children’s picture books: “Story & Pictures By.

Joanna Rudnick, Director & Producer of “Story & Pictures By”

The film follows three contemporary children’s book authors/illustrators – Mac Barnett, Christian Robinson and Yuyi Morales – as they craft new books and interact with kids across the country.

It’s no secret that we are big believers in the power of children’s books, not only to help kids develop language, but as vehicles to shape their world, unleash their imagination, and foster literacy. So when we learned about the film, we wanted to learn more.

If you love this idea as much as we do, consider supporting the film’s Kickstarter campaign. There are only three days left (until Nov. 22) for them to reach their goal of $40,000 so they can continue production.

Mentioned in this Episode


In one of our earliest episodes, Spanish is like a warm croqueta, we spoke about what we had done in our homes up to that point to foster our daughter’s burgeoning Spanish. Recently, we listened to it again and it struck us how different things feel now, so we decide to record an update on where we think we are on this bilingual path.

This is the kind of episode we wish we could record with all of you in the room! In lieu of this, please join our Facebook Group to share your own descarga with us.

In this episode we talk about:

Read to Kids in Spanish; it’ll help their English

On Heritage, Language and Identity

When Your Kid Doesn’t Get Into the Dual Language Program

When Your Kid Doesn’t Get Into the Dual Language Program | Two Months In

Habláme Bebé: A Chat with Dr. Melissa Baralt

We know that giving bilingual children exposure in the minority language is crucial for their language development, but for some parents speaking their heritage language to their children in an English-dominant society is challenging. In this episode, we speak to Dr. Melissa Baralt, an associate professor of applied psycholinguistics at Florida International University, and the creator of Háblame Bebé, an app aimed at helping Hispanic families foster language development in their children.

Dr. Melissa Baralt

Through the app and her research work, Dr. Baralt has focused on empowering parents to pass on their heritage language to their children and to develop a positive socio-linguistic identity.

Mentioned in this Episode

Join the Entre Dos Facebook community to share your experiences, questions, and discoveries with us and other parents raising bilingual kids.

What Kind of Spanish Do You Speak? The U.S. as a Spanish-Speaking Country

Have you ever thought of the U.S. as a Spanish-speaking country? Our guest, Emily Hunsberger, a bilingual communications professional, mom of bilingual kids, and host of Tertulia Podcast, does. In today’s episode, she spoke to us about embracing and changing the perception of Spanish spoken in the U.S. – the Spanish that our children are growing up with.

Emily Hunsberger

Our conversation with Emily is a follow-up to our previous episode What Kind of Spanish Do You Speak? Language and Social Perceptions with guest Salvatore Callesano.

We also spoke to Emily – en español – for her podcast. Make sure you listen to the episode, Los Guardianes Invisibles del Idioma, over at Tertulia Podcast.

Mentioned in this episode

Join the Entre Dos Facebook community to share your experiences, questions, and discoveries with us and other parents raising bilingual kids.

What Kind of Spanish Do You Speak? Language and Social Perceptions

Our perceptions about what kind of bilingual we want our kids to be are rooted in what we feel is acceptable Spanish. But where do these ideas of what is “correct” or “incorrect” come from?

In this episode, we speak to Salvatore Callesano, a sociolinguistic researcher and instructor at The University of Texas at Austin, about the relationship between linguistics and social perceptions and the effect these can have on bilingual children and youth in the US.

Salvatore Callesano

Mentioned in this episode

Additional reading

Join the Entre Dos Facebook community to share your experiences, questions, and discoveries with us and other parents raising bilingual kids.

The Bilingual Advantage: A Research Update

Is being bilingual/multilingual an advantage for cognitive development? The answer is not straightforward. You’ve likely heard about the bilingual advantage, this idea that people who have two or more languages develop cognitive advantages, particularly within the realm of executive function which is responsible for things like attention and task-switching. Research to date has yielded conflicting findings and, according to some researchers, the debate over whether there’s a bilingual advantage or not has reached a stalemate.

Dr. Anthony Dick

In this episode, we talked to Dr. Anthony Dick, an associate professor of developmental science and cognitive neuroscience at Florida International University. He published a study that found no evidence of advantages in executive function in 9- and 10-year-old bilingual children.

Continue reading “The Bilingual Advantage: A Research Update”

A Conversation with Parenting Expert Maritere Bellas

As mothers of relatively young children, a lot of the conversations we have are about what will become of our bilingual, bicultural children’s future. For this episode, we called on Maritere Bellas, an award-winning author and parenting expert, who raised bilingual and bicultural children in Los Angeles, to share with us her wisdom and experience.

Maritere R. Bellas

Maritere has written extensively about parenting for newspapers and online outlets, and is the author of the books “Raising Bilingual Children: A Practical Guide,” “Arroz con Pollo and Apple Pie,” and “Luisito’s Island.” After we recorded this episode, she also launched a multicultural parenting podcast in Spanish called Mamás 411.

Additional resources

What We Love: Tres Cuentos Podcast

In this episode of What We Love/Lo Que Más Nos Gusta, we talk to Carolina Quiroga-Stultz about her podcast: Tres Cuentos. In Tres Cuentos, which means three stories, Carolina tells stories, myths and legends from Latin America in Spanish and English.

Carolina Quiroga-Stultz, creator of Tres Cuentos Podcast.

While most of the stories on Tres Cuentos are geared toward older children and adults, Carolina recently launched a summer series with stories geared toward younger children called Niñez Heroica/Children Heroes. Each episode includes a story followed by a few interesting facts about something related to the story.

In this episode …

The audio clip you heard at the beginning of this episode comes from the Tres Cuentos episode “Mitos de Creación: Cuando los ancestros bajaron del cielo“. You can listen to the same story in English here.

Carolina launched her children’s summer series after we spoke. Below are the two episodes she has published so far:

To find out when new episodes are published, follow Tres Cuentos on Facebook.

Public libraries: Allies for bilingual families

Public libraries are one of our nation’s most important resources. They support literacy, act as an inclusive gathering space for the community, and provide a plethora of public services. In this episode, we dive into how public libraries have been supporting bilingual families and how they can support you in your community.

City of North Miami Public Library
Continue reading “Public libraries: Allies for bilingual families”

Bilingualism and Speech Delays: Dispelling Myths

A common misconception or myth about bilingualism is that it causes speech language delays. In this episode, Claudia Serrano Johnson, a speech language pathologist (SLP) and founder of Laleo Therapy in Virginia breaks down these misconceptions and shares red flags parents should look out for in their child’s speech language development. You’ll also hear the experience of Zayra Marrero Burgos, an SLP who has a son with developmental delays.

Claudia Johnson (left); Zayra Marrero Burgos (right)

Mentioned in this episode

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) – this professional, scientific and credentialing association has a directory of certified professionals.

Additional Reading

Learning Two Languages, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

How do you know when it’s a language delay versus a disorder?, Leader Live, April 14, 2015

Does Bilingualism Cause a Language Delay?, Multilingual Living, May 31, 2010

What We Love: Conversation Starters

How do you get your kids to engage with you in the target language? We don’t mean utilitarian exchanges about snacks or watching five more minutes of cartoons but actual conversations about interesting topics, concepts or just life, really.

It’s not as easy as it sounds, with our day-to-day lives we find ourselves not interacting as deeply with our loved ones, which is a problem in general, but poses particular issues for parents raising bilingual children. In this What we love/Lo que más nos gusta episode, we share how we get those conversations going.

Visit our blog post, Conversations & Storytelling: A Resource Guide for Bilingual Kids, to see our recommendations!

Join the Entre Dos Facebook community to share your experiences, questions, and discoveries with us and other parents raising bilingual kids.

The Bilingual Revolution, Part II

In Part Two of our conversation with Fabrice Jaumont – a French educator, researcher and the author of the book The Bilingual Revolution – we talk about what drives parents to undertake the efforts needed to establish dual language education programs and what you can do to get started. We also discuss common misconceptions about dual language programs and the importance of having a long-term vision when establishing these initiatives.

Photo by Jonas Cuénin

If you haven’t listened to Part I, this is a good time to do so!

Further Reading

The Bilingual Revolution

“The Bilingual Revolution” is available in English, Spanish, French, German, and Russian.

Entre Dos listeners can download a free e-copy of the book by visiting tbr-books.org and entering the code Entre Dos Podcast at checkout.

The Bilingual Revolution, Part I

Dual language education can be a good way to both sustain a cultural heritage and acquire a second language. But if you’ve spent any time looking into these programs, you may have found that they are not easy to get into or they simply don’t exist where you live. In this episode, we speak to Fabrice Jaumont, a French educator, researcher, and author of the book “The Bilingual Revolution.”

Fabrice Jaumont
Photo by Jonas Cuénin

Fabrice has helped start multiple dual language education programs in New York, and his book serves both as a testament to what a group of parents can do to bring these programs to their public schools and a guide for those who may want to replicate those efforts elsewhere.

Continue reading “The Bilingual Revolution, Part I”