I Speak Français
Q & A
Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
A. I'm an American expat living in the south of France with my French husband (we met on my study abroad trip 20 years ago!) and our three little ones: Romain (9), Alban (6), and Lola (3).
Q. What language(s) do you speak?
A. English and French.
Q. Did you grow up speaking both or did you learn one or more later on?
A. I grew up speaking English only and I started to study French in middle school and continued throughout high school and into college eventually earning a degree in French and French Literature.
Q. What languages are spoken in your home and in what capacity?
A. A whole lot of Franglais! It's a bit of a jumble, but I speak to my children exclusively in English whereas my husband speaks to them exclusively in French. They respond to me mostly in English or a mix of the two.
Q. Do your children speak both languages?
A. They speak both languages. They speak perfect French and their English is good; however, peppered quite often with French.
Q. Do they mix them up?
A. All the time!
Q. What is the hardest thing about language learning/having a bilingual/multilingual household?
A. I think the hardest part is that communication is muddled/confusing a lot of the time.
Q. What is the best thing?
A. It creates such an enriching environment and it's hilarious to hear the silly things they say!
Q. What are the funniest phrases your children have come up with in each or either language?
A. "I not comprends what you say, mommy." "Je pas like it." OK, it's at you." to say it's someone's turn. The list goes on!
Q. Do you have any tips for other bilingual/multilingual families or families hoping to raise bilingual/multilingual children?
A. My husband and I decided to strictly speak in our respective native tongues to our children in order to have it be a clear reference for them. I suppose my only tip would be to correct when needed, but to keep it light and enjoy watching their journeys unfold, linguistic and otherwise!
Q. What is your/your children’s favorite book in each language?
A. At the moment it's We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury in English and Gros Dodo by Victor Coutard & Gala Collette in French for the youngest, Corduroy by Don Freeman in English and Le livre animé des Trains by Sophie Prénat and Vinciane Schleefand for the middle, and anything Ariol (French only!) for the oldest. My personal favorite is reading The Wizard of Oz to them in English...it's such a wonderful read and it's fun to read a chapter book as it keeps the intrigue going for a long stretch of time.
For the kids…
Petite questionnaire à la Proust
What is your idea of perfect happiness? It's just that I don't want to break my legos.
What is your current state of mind? Good.
Which talent would you most like to have? I want to be a TV (an actor).
What is your most treasured possession? My Ninjago legos.
What is your favorite color? Blue.
What is your favorite occupation? A policeman.
What are your favorite names? Léo, Jean, Raphaël, Lola.
What is it that you most dislike? Légumes and I don't like being sick.
Where would you most like to live? Paris and New York.
Other than yourself, who would you like to be? A cowboy.