I was born in England and then moved to France when I was 7 and came back to England to go to University when I was 18 years old and have been in London ever since, that’s my life basically and that’s why I am bilingue.
My introduction to the French language was quite traumatic, I was put in a French school knowing only a few words, namely: “bonjour, merci, aurevoir, s’il vous plait and chausson aux pommes (I was addicted to them so quickly learnt how to ask for one in the boulangerie). It wasn’t easy but it was definitely an effective way of learning the language as a few tears, lifelong traumatic childhood moments (they are for another post, it involved learning poems by heart…) and 3 months later I could speak French as well as the other enfants. I was even top of the class after the second trimestre (to be fair I was put back a year to help with the language barrier, I then jumped “CE2” two years later so I was back in the right school year).
Hopefully A’s language development won’t be so traumatic! So far I have been speaking both languages to her and now realise this isn’t going to work. I find it weird speaking French to her when I’m around people who only speak English but sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do and so from now on it’s français all the way. This should avoid confusion and hopefully she will end up bilingual, its not going to be easy as she lives in England, has an American dad (hence one day if we live in the US, I will become “mom”, I don’t really like that idea as I associate that word with ‘soccer mom” and I cannot be one of those ! Shoot me if I do become one) and I am basically the only regular exposure she has to French. When she is older she can watch French TV and I must start reading French books to her. I’m convinced one of her first words will be “bisou” because I give her like 100 of those a day (did I just write “like”? I’m already becoming a MOM!)
The advantages of being bilingual are obviously numerous; I got my first “proper” job thanks to my language skills and they really helped my career. Also once you know one language, it really is easier to learn others, indeed there was a time when I spoke German (I have to blog about living in Berlin one day).
I have to stop being lazy and not worry about others and really make an effort to speak French to her so then hopefully we will be able to talk behind papa’s back without him understanding a word 🙂