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MAPLE: A Multilingual Approach to Parent Language Estimates

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 June 2019

Krista Byers-Heinlein*
Concordia University
Esther Schott
Concordia University
Ana Maria Gonzalez-Barrero
Concordia University
Melanie Brouillard
Concordia University
Daphnée Dubé
Concordia University
Amel Jardak
Concordia University
Alexandra Laoun-Rubenstein
Concordia University
Meghan Mastroberardino
Concordia University
Elizabeth Morin-Lessard
Concordia University
Sadaf Pour Iliaei
Concordia University
Nicholas Salama-Siroishka
Concordia University
Maria Paula Tamayo
Concordia University
Address for correspondence: Krista Byers-Heinlein, E-mail:


Bilingual infants vary in when, how, and how often they hear each of their languages. Variables such as the particular languages of exposure, the community context, the onset of exposure, the amount of exposure, and socioeconomic status are crucial for describing any bilingual infant sample. Parent report is an effective approach for gathering data about infants’ language experience. However, its quality is highly dependent on how information is elicited. This paper introduces a Multilingual Approach to Parent Language Estimates (MAPLE). MAPLE promotes best practices for using structured interviews to reliably elicit information from parents on bilingual infants’ language background, with an emphasis on the challenging task of quantifying infants’ relative exposure to each language. We discuss sensitive issues that must be navigated in this process, including diversity in family characteristics and cultural values. Finally, we identify six systematic effects that can impact parent report, and strategies for minimizing their influence.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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