Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My little French boy

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..


  1. It is truly amazing how like sponges little ones are ... it is so great to speak another language and to be able to switch from one to the other at only five is brilliant!

    My little boy's friend at school has foreign parents and he amazes me with his ability to converse fluently in both ... it is quite a skill ... Bee xx

  2. aw sam, well done dear. i think it's just incredible, your bilingual children. well done you too mama. love your chalkboard painted wall.

  3. So interesting! It's such a gift to be bi-lingual. A good friend of mine is German and her husband English and so their kids are growing up to be bi-lingual. It fascinates me how they know to switch between the two languages depending on who they are talking to, it's almost instinctive. x

  4. I also love his accent, love when he says 'Shall we play football?' x x

  5. Utterly fascinating, they're just amazing aren't they? Clever little things :)

    Just Pirouette and Carry On...

  6. Brilliant! You must be one proud mama such gift should be cherished and develop its further potential. Got my eye on your next posts.

  7. I am doing my best in a completely isolated from German language environment to bring up my little boy with German. We play music, read books, and I try to remember to talk to him in German. I'm aiming to download a load of children's series for him too...hopefully it will give him the ear a little for it.


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