Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Update on the Bilingual Thing

I last wrote about our adventures in bilingualism a year ago (see Raising a Bilingual Child) and a lot has changed since then. The most important thing is that A started nursery school in September. You may recall that until last Spring, he had been in a mainly French-speaking environment. I gave the teachers a list of useful french words, and they were great and just went with it. School had the expected effect: a major jump in A's English skills (take that nay-sayers and worry-buddies). A not only understands everything in both languages, but he can now express himself fully in French and English too. He usually knows pretty well how to separate the languages and to speak English to English-speakers and French to French-speakers. Lately however, he has started using more and more english words while speaking French. It's usually words that are easier in English --spider instead of araignee, or duck instead of canard -- or words he uses often at school. I am not worried because I know it's a normal step in the process, he'll eventually sort everything out. I do not correct him, because I read that's a sure way to have your child get frustrated with the language and refuse to speak it.

What I'm doing now is:

- continue to only speak French to him
- read books in French and continue to watch some French cartoons (although Mickey Mouse and Chuggington are definitely more popular these days)
- try to have him play with other French-speaking children
- visit France as often as we can

Are you raising a bilingual child? Has he or she mixed the words at one point? How did you handle it?

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