Friday, June 28, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 28 - Je T'aime Mon Petits Choux

Today prompt is, "Do you speak any other languages? When do you think a child should learn a new language?"

I personally don't speak any languages fluently. I took French in high school because one, I need a foreign language to graduate and two, my parents were born in Canada and both grew up with French as their (somewhat) second language.

While neither one of my parents grew up in Quebec, the French speaking part of Canada, French is to Canada like Spanish is to America. Many of the inhabitants of Canada speak French. On many products, the information and directions are in both French and English. Both of my parents grew up learning French in school, all the way up to Grade 13.

Anyhoo, I started my French speaking experience in 9th grade, partially because my dad suggested it, and partially because I wanted to rebel against all of my friends who were taking Spanish. I thought it would be great to have my dad help me with my homework, but that didn't turn out so well. Turns out I was learning France French and my parents knew Canadian French. While the two are quite similar, it's comparable to having someone from Alabama speak to someone from Boston. The basics are the same, but there are slight differences that make them almost two different languages. There were many instances of late night studying where I'd get frustrated because I was taught something by my teacher while my dad had learned something different.

Even though I was told I would have to take a foreign language in college, I wasn't, so my French experience stopped in junior/senior year of high school (I graduated a year early from high school, so technically my junior year was my senior year because it was the year I graduated. Confusing, I know.) I've still held onto a few phrases that would allow me to survive if I suddenly woke up in Paris, but a few of my favorite are, "ferme ta bouche" (shut your mouth, or shut up) and "mon petit chou" which means "my little cabbage" which for some strange reason is an affectionate term.

While I'm not sure if a child learning a second language is vital to their development, I certainly think it's cool, and I can see it being very important if their parents/grandparents speak a different language. Back in my hometown in Missouri, there was a French immersion preschool that I would have loved to have my child(ren) go to. For one, it would have helped me practice my French, and two, I think it would have been cool for my child to be able to insult the bully on the playground in a different language. Kid can't get in trouble if the teacher doesn't understand, right? I've also heard that children learn multiple languages easier when they're younger which makes me question why I couldn't graduate high school without learning how to ask where the bathroom is in another language.

I apologize to anyone who speaks French for the butchering of the language that happened in my title. I'm a bit rusty. 


  1. I love the idea of doing immersion! While I don't know of any preschools around here, we have quite a few elementary schools that offer immersion.

  2. i speak german! too bad no one else does, haha!
    isaiah often mentions a spanish immersion school because EVERYONE speaks spanish it seems like. but ugh. i just dont know! lol.

  3. I took Spanish in high school and French in college. The transition wasn't easy because they're too similar but not similar enough...if that makes sense.