Children are sponges. Bilingualism delays speech. Language acquisition is a race against the clock. Bilingualism is a gift… Why won’t you give the gift?
More than half of the world’s population can speak more than one language fluently and over a third of the population in the United Kingdom is multilingual. And yet life in multiple languages is rarely discussed publicly, and the pressure to keep heritage languages alive has become a private conflict for millions.
LInguist Malwina Gudowska, herself trilingual, takes us inside that private struggle, shedding light on the ways in which we navigate language, its power to shape and reshape lives, and the ripple effects felt far beyond any one home or any one language.
It takes one generation for a family language to die. One generation – like mother to child. Mother Tongue Tied is about the emotional weight of raising multilingual children while grappling with your own identity and notions of home; as a child of immigrants, and as a new mother. Ultimately, Mother Tongue Tied explores at what cost does a mother save a language? Or does she let it slip away and, with it, a part of herself her children may never know.
Malwina Gudowska is a Polish-Canadian writer, editor, journalist and linguist living in London, UK. She is a PhD researcher in applied linguistics at Birkbeck, University of London where she studies multilingual mothering, exploring the emotionality and emotional communication of mothers raising multilingual children. She is also a National Magazine Award winner whose writing has appeared in Vogue, the Financial Times, Lit Hub, and the New York Times-bestselling anthology Women in Clothes, among others. Her substack, Motherlingual explores language, motherhood and the intersection of the two.