& Carers

When English is not your home langua ge


Sometimes children hear and use English and one or more additional home languages. These children are called Multilingual or children who have English as an Additional Language (EAL)


If you have any other questions about multilingual children please contact us via the Speak Up Salford website and we can call you back. Our e-mail address is


The Literacy trust has tips for talking to your child in these 18 home languages



6 Frequently Asked Questions about Multilingual Children


Q1: Should we stop speaking our home language and talk to our child in English?


A: No- it is important that you carry on using your home language.


Here’s why:

  • You will be more confident and relaxed using your home language

  • Home languages and give your child a sense of identity and a way of communicating with family and community

  • Home language skills give children a strong foundation for learning other languages. 

  • This will give your child really good language models


Q2: Do multilingual children start to speak later than children speaking one language?


A: Not usually.  most children start to speak around the same time and that young children learn two languages as naturally as learning one.



Q3: My child switches between languages- are they confused?


A: When children are learning two or more languages they often switch between languages. This is very common in multilingual children and research shows that this will settle down as they learn the rules of their languages.


Sometimes children do this because they a word in one language but not the other. For example, if a child knows the word for 'ice cream' in one language and not the other they will use the word in the language they know rather than not asking for ice cream at all!


Q4 :My child only wants to speak English at home- what should we do about this?


A: It is helpful if you keep speaking your home  language, even if your  child answers in English.


Q5: How long will it take my child to learn English at nursery or school?


A: Some children learn English and another language from the start, other children don’t learn English until they start nursery or school.


The length of time it will take will vary from child to child.


Research suggests it can take up to 2 years to learn English to a level that your child can join in fully with friends English speaking friends and up to 7 years to develop to GCSE level.


If your child is a good communicator in their home language they are likely to learn English quite quickly because they will be hearing native English speakers all day.


Q6:Will learning two or more languages cause my child to have language difficulties?


No- being multilingual does not cause language difficulties.  However, if your child is having difficulties learning to use their home language, compared to other children you know  and they find it difficult to understand or use  this language then they will also have difficulties learning and using English and you may want ot seek help



Find out more

  • Click here to be taken to an article, produced by one of the top research centres in the UK, published in Nursery World  Magazine (2015). It is called Confused? Myths and Facts about growing up and learning two languages.

  • Click here for useful resource- NASSEA EAL Assessment Framework. This helps practitioners to observe, document and accelerate the ways bilingual children start to use English as a tool for learning in nursery/school, and then continue to develop their skills.



Local Initiatives

Early Years Initiatives

Our Early years team are currently working together with the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, this includes a rollout of language screening of children using Wellcomm tool.

School Age Initiatives

We currently offer a range of virtual training sessions to schools for free! SENCo's will have been informed of training dates that you can book your staff on to. Please contact Fiona Taylor ( or your Link SLT if you have any questions about this. 


 Enhanced Services initiatives

The Enhanced Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) Service offer bought-in input in schools. This might involve universal input, individual or group interventions. The Enhanced Team also support schools and staff to develop communication friendly environments and deliver training. For further information, please contact Fiona Taylor –


I would also like to say that I am very impressed with the work Speech and Language Therapist is doing in school as well as the professional way she deals with my parents and her helpful advise to my staff. I believe credit where credit is due.

School staff

Lorna is amazing to work with and has made such an impact on our school provision, we are lucky to have her!

School SENCo

My child absolutely LOVES coming to see you, you are so good with him. We are extremely grateful for all of your care and support. He is counting down the days until we can come again.


We loved our sessions with Lucie, we found her to be positive and encouraging, we have already seen a huge improvement in his communication, using words and attempting new words to communicate with us in everyday tasks and his confidence in learning new words has shot up, he’s attempting 2 word phrases pretty well and even attempted 3 words on a couple of occasions. The difference for us is huge and we feel Lucie has set us up to keep improving now that the sessions are over.


I just wanted to send a quick email to say thank you for the training you delivered for us this afternoon, it was so useful and informative. It was great to have further training that was bespoke to Early Years and built on what we had done in the whole school training. We're excited to start implementing it for our children.

Early Years Teacher

I have just attended the virtual open evening and I thought it was a really nice way to explain the role and introduce the team as opposed to reading it on a job ad. I felt very lucky to have seen many of the benefits Fiona spoke about too so thank you for providing me with the opportunity to sit in on the training sessions.

Speech and Language Therapy Student

I am new to the role and I have found all members of the team extremely helpful and have gone out of their way to support me.

School SENCo

This is great and I am so appreciative of your support. We have nothing but fantastic things to say about the Salford SALT team and the support that you have given to both of our children.