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HELP--I'd like my son to be bi-lingual!

Posted by Pat P. - Created: 16 years ago
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5 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 5)

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Posted by michael and kate - 16 years ago

When we moved here, we put our 6 year old straight into French school.  She didnt speak a word of French.  Not once did she say she didnt like school, not once did we have tears at school.  2 years on, she speaks perfect French and got As and Bs on her report card.  She's got loads of friends and enjoys playing in French and English.

Dont worry about your baby speaking French, it'll happen before you know it!  We now have to pay attention to our daughter's English, even though we speak it at home.  Its amazing how children learn, don't worry about your baby!

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Posted by the_geezer - 16 years ago

I hope in God's name you mean five YEAR old son!

I think putting pressure on a five MONTH old to speak anything is criminal!


The Geezer

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Posted by eurokiné-187861 - 16 years ago

I'm inclined to agree with szozu! I arrived here with my schoolgirl french and 2 english born boys of 6 & 8 ,all three of us having spent the 2 previous years in german speaking Switzerland! Thus in the space of 3 years they'd been speaking english, swiss german, "real" german and then they had french thrown at them! Despite slight dyslexic tendencies for the eldest (already noticed in UK when there was only one language in question) they have gone through the french school system with no difficulty, the aforementioned eldest getting his Bac S this summer after redoing his "premier" by choice (only had 11 de moyen & thought he could do better -he was right, second time around he had 13!)This is the only "redoublement" they've done. Must be said they are undoubtedly behind their british peers in english reading skills but that would soon even out if they spent the time on itLet your little one mix with french speaking children & adults (which wont do you any harm either -there's nothing like having to scream "put that down " to a foreign language speaking child for you to get to grips with things! :-))good luck@+

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Posted by szozu - 16 years ago

You don't mention whether you are here permanently or if you will be moving back to your country of origin.

My parents immigrated to the US when I was only a few years old. Their philosophy was that I would learn English on my own without any trouble. In fact, they didn't even send me to kindergarten and I was thrown into first grade speaking not a word of English. By summer I was going to the public library and taking out tons of books. I didn't drop the last of my accent, however, until around age 10 or 11. One advantage to learning English in school is that I never had any problems with grammar. I learned grammar "by the book" and had no bad habits to unlearn. I also became my school spelling bee champion!

What I'm trying to say is that if you're remaining in France you would do better to worry about your son's English than his French. In fact, if you remain here, I would strongly recommend your son (when he's older, of course!) be sent to spend some holidays in English-speaking countries.

If, on the other hand, you will be returning to wherever you came from, then all you need do is to let him play with other (French) children. He will pick up French very quickly! When I lived in Spain, there were designers and technicians who came to work for Expo for a couple of years. Those with young children brought them along and were amazed on how quickly they were chattering away in Spanish with their playmates while the parents were still struggling to express themselves at the local greengrocer's!

I believe that the reason I speak six languages today is due to my early exposure to more than one language, though English is my strongest language, because my formal education was in English.

I'm glad you're aware of how important it is to speak more than one language--but you might be worrying about the wrong one!


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Posted by Alison665 - 16 years ago

Hi -

I was in the same position.  My daughter is now 2 and understands (and is beginning to speak) French perfectly.

Basically, I found a French childminder close to the house (we live in Mougins, so she might be a bit far for you) and she goes there every morning for three hours - et voila - she's billingual.

French childminders are great - and fantastically cheap, so it shouldn't be too much of strain on your budget! 

Good luck!!