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post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
This has really become an interesting discussion! Thank you all so much for your insights / experiences / opinions.

It is a huge priority for me that DS be a fluent speaker of all three languages, otherwise he will not be able to communicate with his family. Which I think would really be a tragedy-- so many children of immigrants are deprived of their cultural and family history because they don't speak the language!

So far, at age 21 months he is already speaking in Arabic with DH and in French and English with me. So he's sorting out who speaks what. He will hear a great deal of French over time since that is the language I have in common with DH's family. We also sing in that language and read books, when he starts watching DVDs he'll have some in French, too. So hopefully it will be, as one poster put it, a living language for him.

All the comments here really reinforce to me that I need to speak in French to him as often as possible to make sure he acquires vocab and grammar early on.

Thanks again for all the interesting input. Vive les enfants bi- et trilangue!
post #22 of 27
Subbing just in case. We do OPOL but with a third language between us, also for baby's sake, so she will learn it. It is not a native language for either of us but our goal for her is fluency, not native speaker level. We just want her to have it as an option.

At first in the US we didn't use it between us when others were around but I think that in the future we will need to let people know that we speak another language together to keep our language skills and so that our daughter knows it, so please do not be offended as you will not hear your name without us translating for you.
post #23 of 27
I have not read all the other posts so forgive me if I am repeating someone but I don't think you should speak French to your son unless you speak it like a native. Anything less, and well, first of all it will be wierd and artificial feeling and secondly, you will inevitably be teaching him mistakes as well as the wrong accent.

Have you looked into whether there is a French or international lycée where you live? That would be by far the best option. Just register him there for the petite section of the maternelle as soon as he turns three and his French will be fine. The one in NYC is super expensive though. Don't know about the ones elsewhere. Your son would have priority for admission because he is a French citizen.
post #24 of 27
Roman Goddess, forgive me, but didn't you used to have a different user name? Sorry. Just curious.
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RomanGoddess View Post
I have not read all the other posts so forgive me if I am repeating someone but I don't think you should speak French to your son unless you speak it like a native. Anything less, and well, first of all it will be wierd and artificial feeling and secondly, you will inevitably be teaching him mistakes as well as the wrong accent.

Have you looked into whether there is a French or international lycée where you live? That would be by far the best option. Just register him there for the petite section of the maternelle as soon as he turns three and his French will be fine. The one in NYC is super expensive though. Don't know about the ones elsewhere. Your son would have priority for admission because he is a French citizen.
Well, to recap: there is no French school here-- we're, um, waaaaay to the left of NYC on the map. As far as I know there isn't even an Alliance Francaise. And, part of the reason we left France is I don't want my kid to go to French school, so coming to America and enrolling him in the petite section of a maternelle doesn't make much sense.

My French isn't perfect, but I have a pretty good accent and rarely make mistakes while speaking. And, not to brag, but my written French is much better than most native speakers'. So given the current situation and the lack of available options in French I think I'll split my time and speak both languages to him.

Mahtob, that's a good way to handle speaking a foreign language around others who don't speak it.

This discussion is helping me clarify my goals for DS. He needs to speak, understand, and eventually read and write in French. If he isn't native-speaker level, that's ok with me.
post #26 of 27
Marylizah -
I am glad this has helped you clarify your goals. we are going to be in a similar situation next year - right now ds is at an immersion preschool but we are moving across the country and there are no spanish preschools there.

My spanish is not as good as your french it sounds like, I do not have better written spanish than native speakers, that is for sure! But I have to do this for my child. I have to speak more spanish with him, read more books in spanish to him, and seek out opportunities for him to be around native speakers. He has a couple of tv shows that he loves - little einsteins and wonder pets - and we only watch those in spanish.

Yes he will not get the idioms and slang in spanish from me, but he has a strong enough background in spanish now that he can understand everything, and when he hangs out with spanish speaking people later on, he can learn their slangs. Since spanish is in so many countries and it is slightly different everywhere, he would have to learn those differences as he travels anyway.

The most important thing to me is that he doesn't lose his spanish as he gets older.


I think the goal of speaking languages like a native speaker without an accent is wonderful, but it shouldn't keep us from teaching our children other languages. Heck, I speak English like a Southerner so even in my native language, I know I have an accent. Sure, French (or in our case, Spanish) without an accent would be fabulous. But to not speak French or Spanish at all because you might have an accent? That doesn't make sense to me.
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AladdinsLamp View Post
Marylizah -
I think the goal of speaking languages like a native speaker without an accent is wonderful, but it shouldn't keep us from teaching our children other languages. Heck, I speak English like a Southerner so even in my native language, I know I have an accent. Sure, French (or in our case, Spanish) without an accent would be fabulous. But to not speak French or Spanish at all because you might have an accent? That doesn't make sense to me.

I agree! You put that better than I could.
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