Episode 73: Be Bilingual – Practical Ideas for Multilingual Families with Annika Bourgogne

Episode 73

On this episode of Bilingual Avenue, I interview book author and multilingual mom Annika Bourgogne. Annika provides advice for parents whose children are struggling to speak to them in the target language. She also shares tips for parents whose children are pushing back on learning to read in their home language along with inspiration for anyone on the language journey.

Episode #73 Quick Guide

On this episode, Annika discusses with us:

  • Her monolingual upbringing in Finnish and how she learned Swedish, English and French in school;
  • Why it was important for her that her daughters grow up in a bilingual environment;
  • How languages are managed in her home;
  • How her family shifted their language policy from One Parent, One Language to Minority Language at Home when they were all together so that they could reinforce the French exposure;
  • How their language policy changed once again now that they are living in France;
  • How her daughters have managed all the family language policy changes;
  • How she realized that she was not a language model in French just a language partner for her children;
  • How speaking Finnish when she was alone with her girls helped her to have a healthy balance;
  • Her book Be Bilingual – Practical Ideas for Multilingual Families which she considers the sequel to her Master’s thesis;
  • How her book compiles both academic research and her personal language journey as a multilingual family;
  • Her advice for making the minority language more appealing to children and she made this apply at home;
  • How her daughters have adapted to their new French environment;
  • Her suggestion for parents whose children are not willing to engage in the target language;
  • How she traveled to France every year to give her daughters exposure in their target language and how they maximized their time oversees;
  • Her advice to find ways to network with other multilingual families to gain support along the way;
  • A future opportunity that she is working on for cultural exchanges for multilingual families;
  • Her tips for raising bilingual AND biliterate children;
  • Her suggestions for books in Finnish for other parents supporting it as a target language in the home including Moomins books;
  • Her advice to make multilingualism a priority in the family while not making it a source of stress.


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