(globetrotter @ Feb. 18 2005,15:45)
Originally Posted by Fabienne,Feb. 18 2005,12:12
When it's people he doesn't know very well, he says "Monsieur", "Madame", "Dame" (Sir, Ma'am, lady), even to English speakers. Â For friends, he usually uses their first name. Â Even though he persists in calling one of our best friends and frequent visitor "Monsieur", which makes the monsieur in question a little sad for not having "graduated". This is America, though, where being informal is a national sport. Â Your son is probably very perceptive. I find kids will typically use the name/title you introduce yourself as, isn't it so?
F, do you speak french with your husband? My wife speaks spanish with my son, but it is very clearly as "forign" language for him - I think because he doesn't see enough adults speaking it. he has a great vocabulary, but an accent and his default is english. we will say to him "so and so speaks spanish" and he will then talk spanish, but it isn't natural. I want to get him into some type of framework to give him an opportunity to practice with more people.
My husband and I speak English to each other most of the time. Â Since our child was born, I have only spoken French to him, and my husband did a bit of both, which, I know, is not what experts advise (one language/one parent system). Â But it works, overall. Â My husband's French has improved greatly, and my son doesn't seem confused by the fact that his father speaks two languages to him. Â It's simple things like "Wait a minute", or "Are you hungry". Â Aside from our usage of language, we try to reinforce French through television (TV5, a francophone channel) and cartoons in French. Â My mother comes to visit for 3 weeks at a time when she has a vacation (she doesn't speak English). Â Books are read in French by me, in English by my husband. Our next holidays will be spent in Montreal, so he witnesses a French speaking environment (and so my husband can run errands on Peel street...) I introduce a little German to him when my German friend comes to visit (she and I speak German to each other), and he catches on, but it wouldn't be frequent enough for him to learn it (although his favorite book is a German children's book). Â I know all this won't be sufficient for him to be truly bilingual, but he tends to favor French for now, even though he hears English most of the day at the daycare. He plays in French by himself. Â Keep in mind he is only 2 1/2, so his language skills have yet to develop quite a bit more. Â We'll see. Â We hope to get him into an international school with a French track where English is gradually introduced through the grades, culminating with the International baccalaureate.
its not easy. for my sons first 2 years, he was in a truly trilingual enviroment - spanish with my wife, my mother in law who lived near us and our nanny, english with me, hebrew at day care and on the street. he understood everything that was said in all three, but he was very aprehensive about speaking. once we cut the hebrew out, almost immidiatly he started speaking better and constantly (although it coresponded with his second birthday, so it may have been a coincidence). he is very familiar with sounds of other languages, and understands that different people speak other langauges (for instance, he knows that elephants speak french due to babar, and that the japanese monkeys in the central park zoo eat sushi, or my friend vlad speaks russian and my friend rudiger speaks german) when he is a little older I want to sent him to spend summers with friends of mine in france, germany, india and egypt, and he spends time every year in latin america so I am hoping that his langauge skills will turn out to be pretty good. the hard part is teaching a language without the critical mass of adults- I think in the states spanish is easier to maintain than english because it is so common it is easy to find people for him to speak with - waitresses at the diner, one of his nursury school teachers, our cleaning lady, the mothers of several of his friends.