Am I bilingual?

It is estimated that over half of the world’s population speak several languages So the issue of bilingualism or multilingualism affects the majority of people in the world. And yet many wonder whether they speak a language well enough to call themselves bilingual (multilingual).

For years, I didn’t dare answer the question with a bold yes. I thought, first I must get rid of my German accent. Besides, I never understood my car mechanic when he explained what was wrong with my car. Although that was probably not a language problem 😊. The prepositions in English still give me a headache…but if you took all those criteria into account, I don’t think anyone could call themselves bilingual. But you can breathe a sigh of relief. The scientific literature is not so strict.

For example, in 2012, experts from the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech summarised: „People who are multilingual are able to comprehend and/or produce two or more languages in oral, manual, or written form with at least a basic level of functional proficiency or use, regardless of the age at which the languages were learnt”.

So we can safely leave behind the belief that we all have to speak languages perfectly since childhood (click here for the position paper if you want to learn more).

If you want to know more about bilingual language development, read my blog on bilingualism (questions parents might have when raising children bilingually). Or watch my presentation on YouTube. It deals with questions which multilingual parents often ask, e.g. will my children get a language disorder if they grow up bilingually?


International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech(2012). Multilingual children with speech sound disorders: Position paper. Bathurst, NSW, Australia: Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE), Charles Sturt University. retrieved (16.03.2023) from

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