Posted in Parenting

Language Acquisition in the ESL Kiddo

We are a French-speaking family living in a French-speaking environment.  My kids go to a French daycare and will be attending a French school.  However, it is important to my husband and I that our kids be bilingual (French and English).  Though we know that they will have ESL lessons in school, we started exposing them to the English language very early on because we know that the earlier they are exposed to a language, the better the chance they’ll be able to learn it.

Keeping that in mind, we’ve exposed our kiddos to English in various ways: nursery rhymes, books, songs, Youtube videos and Netflix.  We’ve even chosen to register them in swimming lessons that happen in a predominantly English-speaking city close to where we live so that they can benefit from hearing English once per week.  (The instructors at the pool they go to are fantastic, they are all bilingual and speak to their French-speaking students in French and English to their English-speaking students.  Win-win!).

Now Charles knows quite a few words in English and he is conscious that it is a completely different language than the one he is used to using.  Sometimes, he plays and “speaks” in English.  I tell you, even though the vast majority of the “words” he uses aren’t real, the intonation is spot on.  It is absolutely adorable!  But even his use of actual English words can yield interesting results.

For instance, given that the “th” sound doesn’t exist in French, it is generally difficult to reproduce by people whose mother tongue is French.  For example, a French-speaking person will typically either drop the “h” or turn the “th” into an “f”.  The number “three” might become “free” or “tree”.  Factor in a toddler who still hasn’t mastered all of the sounds in his mother tongue and counting to ten for him sounds like this:

one, toop, freen, fow, five, six, seven, yate, nine, ten

For a while, he kept seeing “fucks” everywhere.  (You know, white fucks, black fucks, firefucks).

Today, it was his turn to pick the first song from his Spotify playlist on his way to daycare.  His choice?  Row, row, row your butt.

Sing it!

Are your children bilingual?  Are your toddlers still struggling with certain sounds?  What are some of the funny things you’ve heard from them?

Posted in Blogging

Today, I Taught My Toddler the “F” Word

imageMakes for a catchy title, doesn’t it?  And it’s true…well, partially at least.

In case you missed yesterday’s post, I mentionned that though Little Dude’s mother tongue is French, we have also taught him some English words which, until very recently, he never associated as having the same meaning as the French words he knows.  Encouraged by his breakthrough and interest in his language development, I decided to combine the color words he knows with other words he doesn’t know.

During the car ride from daycare to home, he pointed out all of the the busses, tractors, lights and fucks that he saw.

There were green fucks, red fucks, black fucks, dump fucks and pickup fucks.

No matter how clearly, or loudly I repeated the word “truck” he just kept saying it his way.  He probably just can’t pronounce the “tr” sound right now so he found a substitute sound.  I couldn’t help but stiffle a laugh every single time he said it and couldn’t help but wonder what others would think if they heard my little man use the word so confidently.

What words have your children mispronounced?

Posted in Blogging

Going AWOL

Well, the school year is officially coming to an end.  That means that despite the fact that I’m no longer working on evenings and weekends (*happy dance*), things have gotten pretty crazy.

Bottom line: I won’t be around for a couple of weeks (or, more precisely, until after June 23rd).

Don’t despair though!  I’ve got a whole bunch of post ideas (some in my draft section, others in my head, others yet to be formed) for my return.  Among other subjects, look out for:

  • A review of an awesome app
  • A post on the birth plan with a sample plan (mine!)
  • A post on the Baby Safe Project
  • A guest posting invitation on childbirth
  • A post on the professionalization of teaching
  • A post on language development

Until then, take care and Happy upcoming Father’s Day!

Posted in Parenting

I Wonder…Could it be a Wonder Week? Aka: Wonder Week # 46

Urgh, I’m so annoyed!  I just finished writing this post which I started yesterday and it didn’t save.  Now, I have to retype half of it…

Ok, tiny rant over…

Well, after a short hiatus caused partly by blogger’s block, partly by juggling three jobs and a family life and partly by good ol’ procrastination, I am back (right on time for Canadian Thanksgiving too!).

In my last post, I mentioned that my son still wasn’t STTN.  Well, he still isn’t, but I’m ok with that.  However, he has been generally cranky, clingy and “mood swingy” (even if my parents won’t believe me and think he’s a perfect angel all the time 😉 ).  I had all but forgotten about wonder weeks until I received a message in my inbox on a particularly headache-inducing day.

“Get ready for wonder week #46”

Ok, so that’s not how the title was worded exactly, but it is what it meant.

“Of course!”, I thought.  Little Dude’s developing skills and fragile mood finally made sense!

I’m not going to go through the signs of a wonder week again as they are pretty stable from time to time.  If you’re curious about what to look out for before a wonder week, I encourage you to read this and this, post (for the record, I’m sure I wrote about these more often, but these are the only two that popped out at me for now).

I am however going to give a little specific insight into what exactly this wonder week (WW) consists of.

According to the authors, who dubbed this WW the “world of sequences”, it is the moment where a baby:

can begin to realize that to reach many of his goals, he has to do things in a certain order to be successful.  You may now see your baby looking first to see which things go together and how they go together before trying to put them in each other, pile them on top of each other, or piece them together.

I’ve definitely noticed my son performing some more complex actions lately.  Here are a few of the things that he’s been doing:

  • Takes off his sock and tries to put it back on (the key word here is being ‘tries”)
  • Places his toys on top of his floating books in the tub
  • Pulls apart two “duplo” blocks and puts them back together
  • Places different sized objects inside containers
  • Pushes a toy towards the couch to try to climb up on his own
  • Can stand up on his own (without pulling up), might take a step forward before squatting back down
  • Dips his cracker/weetabix in a soft food (applesauce, hummus…) and brings the food to his mouth
  • Grabs the phone, puts it to his ear, pushes on some buttons and hands it to me
  • Tries to scoop up different types of food with his spoon
  • Turns on/off the light when prompted

I also seem to have turned my son into a pavlovian experimental subject.  He has not only been conditioned to clap when he hears the word “bravo” but he also when he pulls up and lets go of the object he used to pull up.  He also waves when he hears the word “bye bye” and is starting to wave when he hears “bonjour” (hello).

In the realm of language development, he understands the words mom, dad, look, what’s that, go get, give, come here, no (though he doesn’t always listen to this one)…and, though he is not particularly loquacious, uses the words “maman”, “papa” (or, his version of those words), “ga”, which is short for “regarde” (look) and “quoi” (what).  The last two words are usually accompanied by one of his fingers pointing in the direction of something.

I’m in awe of how quickly he’s developed since birth.  It is thoroughly amazing how much these little ones learn in such a short amount of time.

I should be back tomorrow for TTT and plan of starting to post more regularly again after that.  Look out for a post on themes for some guest posts I would love to see ’round here on Wednesday.

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canadians!

Take care all.