Meet One Family That Speaks Greek, Swedish And English At Home05:52
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Erik Anderlind, center, and his daughter Cassandra Anderlind and his son Philip. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Erik Anderlind, center, and his daughter Cassandra Anderlind and his son Philip. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
This article is more than 1 year old.

About 20 percent of U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home.

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson talks with Erik Anderlind and his 9-year-old daughter Cassandra, who speak English, Greek and Swedish at home.

Cassandra Anderlind said for her, the hardest language to learn was Swedish, while the easiest was Greek.

Erik Anderlind said teaching their children to be multilingual came naturally because he is from Sweden and his wife is from Greece.

"It's very important to maintain the language and so, we heard somewhere that speaking around five hours per week is a good way of maintaining the language," he said. "If you speak a lot less, then you tend to forget."

And it helps that there are other parents to bounce ideas off of. Erik Anderlin said about 20 to 30 other families at the Newton school his daughter attends are also teaching their children a language in addition to English.

"It's very important for kids to learn a language because I see it as a gateway to learning a culture better — understanding people much deeper than you can if you're just talking to someone in English," he said.

This segment aired on July 20, 2018.

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