Thursday, 16 September 2010

When franglais is ok...

It only took a week of being with my mom for Suzanne to stop speaking franglais. But it only took 2 days back at school for her to start again. I'm not worried; I'm just saying...

I'm always so impressed with Suzanne's language skills. She may not be as bilingual as her friends whose parents only speak English at home or whose mom's don't work full time. But Suzanne English is amazing even without considering those factors.

Actually, I'm the problem at the moment. I've grown so accustomed to hearing certain types of interlanguage - between Suzanne's franglais, my own sometimes warped language, and the eurobabble everyone at work speaks (where working language is English and I've been the only native English speaker for most of the past 7 years) - I sometimes don't hear when she makes mistakes and therefore don't correct her. In fact, I'm torn on whether I should just let her speak even with mistakes or if I should correct her. I'm partial to the first because, reinforced by François Grosjean's book, I feel that her speaking fluently even with mistakes is better than her feeling bad because I correct her all the time. That was my strategy when I taught English - it was most important for the person to feel comfortable than to make a perfect sentence. Besides, how many "natives" do you know who make grammatical mistakes? I know lots...there are probably even some in this post.

As for Max, his time with my mother was more than beneficial to him. He clearly understands both English and French and is trying to make words. In the past week he has said:
car, ball, beep (for the microwave), bottle (bah), Lo (for Lola the cat), baboom (when something falls) and I think he tried to say apple yesterday (pap) and Suzanne this morning (duse). He is also repeating certain sounds which he thinks mean something although we still don't understand. We have also recognized a smattering of French words since he began day care: aba (à boire), coh (encore), beh (could be pain or bread). He is also signing a little bit.

We are going to the US for two weeks at the end of October. Not only will my kids get a real Halloween (yeah!), but it will be complete immersion for 2 solid weeks since Jerome isn't coming with us (God save the people near me on the plane).

What makes Suzanne's franglais ok is that I know it isn't a permanent state. And I'm assuming that Max will also speak English, although being as hands on with him is much harder since he won't sit still. Boys!

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