Friday, 3 May 2013

Accents, etc

As I type these words, my mother is on the plane back to NJ. Or at least I hope so after a 24 hour delay at CDG! Better her than me and my 2 kids is what I say!

Three weeks is a long time. But it's also a short time. As with previous visits from my parents, I like to try to pick up on some of the linguistic challenges and changes that I see in my kids and in myself.

1) community language - both of my kids have understood the OPOL rule from the start. while Suzanne has always understood that English=Mom, her friends and her environment, Max had a lot of trouble understanding that the community language was not always French. Last summer it took him 2 weeks to speak English to people in stores in NJ. But while we were in England a couple weeks ago, I only heard merci once or twice. Go Max!

2) literacy - A couple days ago, we got word that Suzanne would continue on to second grade next year (CE1 - classe élémentaire 1). Compétences aquises. My daughter can read in French, although she has yet to take a book and read it for pleasure. But what she does love is writing. She writes all the time.  She writes in French. She writes in English which is pretty incredible because she's taught herself (as I've said before, I decided not to teach her reading or writing in English until she'd learned French). Yay Suz! (Max is also starting to write a little).

3) accent - While Suzanne's accent is purely New Jersey, Max continues to speak with a slightly gutteral almost Germanic accent in both French and English. His consanants are a bit too harsh and his vowels are a bit too open. His kindergarten speech evaluation noted "leger accent compte tenu de sa mère américaine". What the teach doesn't know though is that Max also has an accent in English. I wonder what the teacher would make of that? As for my accent, I noticed that it became more American while my parents were here but became more English when we went to English. Strange.

4) sentence structure - the kids continue to use French structure in their English at times. The main problem seems to be with prepositions and irregular verbs. All in all though, you'd never know they were not native English speakers.

So, let's just pat me and my husband on the back for a job well done. And thank my parents for a nice visit.


Bonne Maman said...

Hey Reb! Sending you and the little ones (and hubby of course) a virtual pat on the back from across the channel! ! !

RuleSpider said...


Just discovered your blog while searching american expats in my neck of the wood.

Just a little wink and message to say keep up writing i love reading your insight on us crazy french people. ;)

And who knows maybe one day you will be the one reading ranting about "the soooo-american conception of customer service"...

Reb said...

thanks for the comments and words of support. It's nice to finally see everything coming to fruition! I (almost) feel like I can let go!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...