Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Is there such a thing as the perfect balance?

I can't help but wonder whether there really is such a thing as the perfect balance where bilingualism or multilingualism is concerned. I'm not just talking about a balance in ability but also in passion, commitment and even confidence.

As a mother who has chosen to speak French only (ok...ok.. I'm not going to paint myself as the saint that I  clearly am not.... so I will rephrase that ..) - As a mother who has chosen to speak French as consistently as possible to my daughter, I naturally have a vested interest in her French language development. Recently, I have been over the moon to watch her responding to more and more words and phrases. She now actually comes to me when I say "Viens!" (Come here!). It's amazing to watch a child's development and to witness the wonders of the human brain. How a brain comes to process and understand the spoken word is mind boggling whatever language is in play. However, I can't help being that little bit more excited about the fact that my 11 month old English daughter is more than capable of responding to a command/ request spoken to her in French.

So... when I went to collect Poppette from nursery last week, I couldn't help feeling a little bit protective towards her French language skills when the nursery nurse told me that she had been saying 'Ta' all day long, on each occasion that someone had passed something to her. I was surprised as 'Ta' is not a word that Papa or I  ever use - clearly Poppette has learnt this word from her time in nursery. Argh... she has only been there a month and already they are filling her head with English... help...

Seriously, I am now starting to realise that I am going to have to talk, talk and talk some more at every given opportunity if French is to be given even a fighting chance. Five days a week in nursery are clearly going to lead to English immersion. Where's the balance in that :-(

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Il est où, Doudou? (Where's Doudou?)

I am so excited to sit down and write this post.

Poppette understands French!!!!

I have no idea why I am so suprised - afterall, I have been speaking French to her since she was around 3 months old (so for the past 8 months of her life). Still, it was such a shock when I first realised.

Without doubt she understands the following:

"Il est où, Doudou" - (where's Doudou (her little lamb comforter)) - when I ask her this question, she looks all over until she can see him then crawls over to wherever he happens to be and grabs him. So now we often play a game where I show here Doudou, then put him in a box or behind a toy or something, then I ask where he is and she sets of to retrieve him. Brilliant!!!

"Elle est où, la lumière" - (where's the light) - when I ask her this she looks straight up to the light fitting in whichever room we happen to be in and holds her hand up towards it.

I'm also pretty sure she understands "encore" (more) and "fini" (finished).

Actually, in my more excitable moments I sometimes wonder if I might have just heard her say "ouais" (yeah) but then I am not sure that this is really possible at the tender age of 11 months....