Little French Steps Forward: Ages 2 & 5 Language Update

  My husband and son walking along the Sandy River

My husband and son walking along the Sandy River

Bonjour les amis! I wrote about my children's French language use this past June, but in the six months since then I've been encouraged by my kiddos' continued language progress. My son in particular has made some solid French strides. He still talks predominantly in English, but right at the 30-months of age mark (a language milestone mentioned by Dr. Gorman in this podcast), he started using more French vocabulary, and more importantly, he became much more willing to repeat French phrases. (Perhaps we're saying au revoir to the more headstrong moments of the terrible twos?). Amusingly, he adds his own silly tweaks to the language, saying things like "poo-poo-plaît" instead of "s'il te plaît."

  My son "helping" with dinner prep by cutting cauliflower

My son "helping" with dinner prep by cutting cauliflower

Admittedly, I don't see any evidence yet that he can completely switch into French, but I love seeing that his French knowledge and use is expanding. In addition to planning occasional French playdates and listening to French music by Zut (his favorite CD), reading French children's books is one of our main methods for building on his current language knowledge. (We get our books from Les Petits Livres, a French children's book rental service in the U.S. They're currently offering a discount through the end of December on their year-long rental plans!).

My daughter, nearly three years older than my son, has been switching into French with more and more spontaneity over the past few months. As a parent who speaks solely in French with her, I find this so encouraging! She even encourages her brother to speak French when they're role playing with Lili Souris paper cutouts from his French magazine, and she and I exchange a bemused glance when he misses a cue or two to have his character reply in French.

  My daughter enjoying her grandma's khao soi soup for breakfast

My daughter enjoying her grandma's khao soi soup for breakfast

Lately, my daughter's been mixing languages by occasionally starting her sentences with a French phrase and finishing in English, making comments such as, "Heureusement it was in their garden!" That sentence and others have showed me that she has a few frenchisms too, because in American English we'd say that an object was in the yard rather than in the garden. Her unwitting bilingual language use makes me smile!

How has your child revealed his or her growing language knowledge lately? What examples of language mixing have made you smile?

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