Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I often forget how much a bilingual child has to ingest. Two lots of everything at such an early age. The amazing thing about it is they don't even realize what they have to comprehend. He switches with ease from English to French. He understands the difference and not really any of it is down to us. We've avoided emphasizing too greatly and without urgency on speaking two languages, allowing time to take its course.
Often, people ask Sam to say things in French from English and he'll shrug his shoulders and look blankly. What I've recently concluded is that he can't translate on demand like we can and always do. His thought process isn't the same as he's never had to do that. Instead he automatically switches languages without a second thought. He doesn't know any different and I can't get my head around it - just that it's amazing.
Recently, we met a speech therapist as Sam has some difficulty pronouncing certain sounds in both languages. We're constantly being asked and told we should speak French to the children. I've always disagreed and was relieved the speech therapist agreed with me. She reminded us how lucky he is to be able to speak two languages and how easily he will learn a third or even fourth language. Children must speak their maternal language at home (especially as we're both English). Otherwise it can cause confusion. However, we need to read frequently in French as that is what he'll learn at school. Basically, we were always on the right track...phew! His problems with pronunciation will rectify itself. After all, he's only 5! I will never be tired of listening to his Anglo-northern/French accent.
For the first time today I heard Bella speaking French. She was playing with a French boy. She was saying "ca va, regarde!, merci, a toute a l'heure". Very very sweet..