Thursday, 16 June 2011


I adored your reactions to my first "I love you" from little big L. It truly was one of the most magical moments in my short life as a mum. In fact, this whole new talking phase is ridiculously cute. Our little fella's vocabulary is getting richer by the day, I feel like I'll barely have time to blink  before he starts chatting away with us. To be honest, I had no idea that he'd be talking and understanding so soon. I thought it was something kiddies did when they were much older. I remember realising how much he actually understood when a few months ago I asked him if he wanted to read the Hungry Caterpillar and he went to his bookshelf and picked the right book. I don't know about you, but there are actually heaps of things I had no idea about when it comes to babies and which I am learning about along the way. I find it great to discover these new steps as we go along rather than read about them in advance and then be worried that L. is has not reached this or that milestone "on time".

What I am most fascinated about at the moment is to watch his little bilingual brain develop. For now, he speaks a mix of English and French, using whatever word is the easiest to pronounce in either language. He'll say "apple", "ball", "cheese", "oh dear" but "tiens" [here you go], "ca" [this/that], "c'est quoi?" [what's that]; and sometimes he'll speak franglais like when we says doudou (a mix between dog and toutou). He can distinguish the difference between both languages but is still unsure which one to actually speak. The other day when we were walking in the forest he was calling for me in French and since we speak English at home, we explained to him that I am "mummy, not maman" and he got really affirmative, repeating " noooon, maman!". It was so cute.

We would really like for L. to be bilingual like us. So many people around us tell us different stories about the best way around it, but it is seems impossible to really know what the best approach is. For now, we both speak English to him and he learns French with the childminder. The only thing we are trying to change is to switch from French to English between Mr. Franglais and me. We feel that L. might otherwise be confused as to why we speak to him in English, and French to each other. It has been really hard to for us switch but little by little we are managing.

Do you have bilingual kids or are you bilingual yourself? I'd be very interested to hear about your personal experiences.

{photo by akynou, taken at the Wall of I love you's near the Place des Abbesses, Paris 18th}


  1. It has always been a dream of ours to move to France for a couple of years while our daughter is little. We have spent some time holidaying there and we feel such a strong connection to the country and culture. It would be amazing to give Eulalie the opportunity to learn two languages while she is small (I believe it's much easier to learn very young?). I think it's great that L has the opportunity to explore two tongues. It's cute that he's choosing the easiest words and phrases from each language and meshing them together - I think that's adorable! xx claire

  2. Our little guy is also switching from English to French all the time, although he gets so much more exposure to English, his French isnt really there yet :) We speak english at home, daycare and everything around him is in english and sometimes that makes it a bit challenging for me to make sure he gets enough French everyday. But at the same time, I am very happy to have someone to talk to in French in the house :) his dad is starting to pick up some words here and there too which is cute (and convenient). As soon as O is old enough to start school I plan on enrolling him into a French afterschool program (French school itself is SO expensive here, it's crazy) and hopefully he'll have lots of mini-friends to talk to in French very soon. Hopefully the 2 weeks 'immersion' program at his grandparents this Summer should help too :)
    They're really little sponges at this age so I'm trying to take advantage of it...
    Big hug from Boston xxx

  3. as I don't have children yet, this post is so interesting to me (as i've often thought how my husband and i would speak to our future little ones)

    I've heard things done in so many ways too. One of my clients (french mother, american father) speaks only french while grandmother and father speak only english (so that way she can distinguish and not get mixed up). The problem now is that at 4 although she can speak both well, she doesn't see why she would needs to speak english as she only hears everyone (including her friends) speak french. (this is in paris, fyi). She feel it's only a 'daddy thing'.

    Gosh, that really freaked me... oh no, my child won't speak to me in my language?! =)

    In my opinion, do what feel natural. So many people tell my hubby and I how we need to do things for me to speak french better/more, but in retrospect after those conversations, they have so many opinions and don't take our feelings on the situation in consideration.

    So, I have so much to say and could talk french/english for too long!

    So happy to hear baby L is speaking and taking it naturally. Although, I'm not ready for children yet, I love hearing stories and get excited that something I've struggled with can come so easy for these kids. How lovely it will be when they can connect with others in different languages naturally!

  4. I have no experience in the dual language thing, I just wanted to say that he's obviously extremely clever to be talking so much, especially given he's learning two languages! I'm so loving the funny little conversations I can have with Olive now, it's too too sweet. Kellie xx

  5. I grew up in a bilingual household (English and Spanish) and I had no problems in school or socializing in terms of what language to use. I think its a wonderful thing to be bilingual. I'm actually now trilingual and learning French currently. At first it is a bit confusing, but after a while the mind sorts itself out. I have a 2 year old nephew who is undergoing a similar development and he also speaks in both English and Spanish. Good luck with everything and thanks for sharing this wonderful experience with everyone!

  6. I agree - it's so important to learn early. I will always have my silly accent and grammar mistakes. When you learn young you're set for life!

  7. A little franglaise!! how adorable. me and carlos are both bilingual (english and spanish) and we speak both languages regularly so I´m preety sure our little bub we´ll just speak oth, which I think is just great in every possible way!

  8. Bonjour!
    Came across your blog by accident via Pinterest (hehe what else). My family is trilingual, with an addition local dialect from where I come from (I am Indonesian). My husband is a francophone, Belgian. We have 2 kids together, and the older one is almost 4. She speaks perfect french, indonesian and english and also my local dialect (now it becomes our secret little language since not many ppl speak it nowadays...). Me and the husband speak english & french to each other. And we live in Malaysia at the moment. Imagine the exposure to so many languages for our kids!! Hehe

    Anyway, to share our experience, the key is to be consistent. The kids' father only speak to them in french, i only speak to them in indonesian. They go to english speaking school so thats where they get some exposure. This is called a one parent, one language approach. You dont have to worry about the little one getting confused by the language you and your partner speak to each other, bcs kids pick up and learn based on what they themselves use to interact with their interlocutors....

    another approach is one language to be used in the house, which is maybe more applicable to your situation, which you are already applying at the moment.

    btw, love ur blog!!!



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