Monday, 5 October 2009

On Dora

Ever since Suzanne began speaking. No wait, ever since Suzanne was born I've possibly been a little too worried about her being bilingual and if/how her language skills would progress. After 3 years, I should feel a bit relieved, right? But i seem to constantly be on my toes, waiting for her to turn to me and say, "Mom, je veux parler comme Papa" (I want to speak like Papa). But, so far, she doesn't cease to amaze me. That's also part of being 3 years old though. A lot of jaw dropping. A lot of snickering behind the kid's back...

With school being well underway, her English doesn't seem to be suffering in the least. And why should it? I mean, it's not like she's spending more time away from me than she ever has. In fact, the school schedule leaves us more time together than her nanny schedule did. The difference is the amount of conversational French she's getting in such a social environment. Peer pressure begins young...

But I have noticed some interesting language phenomena going on. Whether it's age or French or just language, I'm not sure.

For some reason, she has decided not to use posessive and personal pronouns in English. Instead she replaces them with subject pronouns like, "Where is shes toy?" or in response to me asking who will do something, she answers "I" instead of me.

She's also crossing her language wires in French where she uses English structure in French sentences like ,"Papa, tu peux donner ça à moi" (Papa, you can give that to me) instead of "tu peux me donner ça".

But she's clearly not phased (at this point) by the bilingual thing - and still not questioning it although I'm sure that's to come. What school has given her is more confidence and a sense of irony.

On our way home the other day, she asked the question any intelligent parent would dread, "Mom, can I watch Dora?" I answered as diplomatically as possible, "well, Mommy doesn't really like Dora". Suzanne hesitated and said, "Mom, can you leave me alone so I can watch Dora?" She applies the same negotiation tactics to eating, sleeping and wiping herself.

She's also begun expressing emotions much better. She tells us when she's said as in "I'm sad so and so said no" (translation: I'm sad Max is sitting on your lap). Or "I like Papa" in response to whether she wants me to bring her to school (translation: I'm pissed off at you for having a baby). I just wish she'd stop that year old whining thing! It's enough to make you want to bang your head against a wall.

As for Max, I realized that if Suzanne continues to speak to me in English and she does indeed speak English to him like she told me she would, he'll have an advantage...fingers crossed.


PS I also caught Suzanne saying, "Attends pour moi", literally "wait for me". In French, there's no preposition after this particular verb.

5 comments:

Jan Exner said...

What I don't get about Dora: why do they not use native speakers for the "foreign language" parts?

Why does my daughter have to listen to weird English with thickest French accent?

My guess: the producers thought French would not understand original accent. And I agree. But French children would, especially young ones.

Anyway...

Beth said...

The "Dora incident" gave me a LOL moment. too funny! Thanks for that!

Also- in my experience, the sibs are a HUGE help in reinforcing language skills. More people in the house means more talk, talk, talk and that's a good, good, thing.
It will be interesting to see if M and S end up speaking English or French between themselves when they are older.

Rachael said...

My little guy started TPS this year and my big guy is in MS. They don't meet in the courtyard that often, but they were there together yesterday, according to Mr MS. I asked him what language they spoke and he looked at me like I was mad and said, "English!" But we are a *very* Anglophone household.

The mixing up language structures is interesting. Mr MS has just started misplacing adjectives, as in "the boat blue," but it's not so terrible.

I meant to comment after your previous post -- Monoprix at Les Tanneurs had Pepperidge Farms Milano cookies the other day. I know, we're up to our eyes in amazing treats here, but sometimes it's nice to see things like that.

ashleyenfrance said...

Oh, I find these type of posts really interesting. I am expecting Baby Number One here in about a month and I am worried about the bi-lingual thing. I do really want my kids to speak English properly, but I am worried that I won't be spending enough time with them for that to happen. Although from what you are saying there is hope! Now I just have to get myself speaking English at home (I usually speak French with my husband) so that they will actually have someone to learn from.

Oh, and I hate Dora too... I am worried about all of the plastic crap that is about to invade us...

Reb said...

Ashley, before my daughter was born, I also spoke French at home. It was a tough switch but if you want your kids to speak English, you MUST speak English at home. You have to choose a system that you and your husband feel comfortable with and be consistent. It's hard,but it works out.

Rachael, I saw Peppridge farms cookies in the cookie aisle of the Carrefour in Wazemmes. Very expensive, but I did buy them once for the hell of it. I like LU better though ;)

Beth, good to know that the sibs will be useful...I am worried though because I've heard boys aren't as good in language. We'll see.

Jan, Dora in French is awful. And the English isn't even right...In English, it's almost kind of tolerable because I can convince myself that it's at least useful for my daughter's English....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...