hello, kind of new here with questions

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-11-2003
hello, kind of new here with questions
8
Fri, 03-30-2012 - 4:41am

Hi,

My name is Elise, I'm French and I have 2 daughters (Mina, 8 and Layla, 4).

I haven't been on Ivillage for years, I was in the expected groups and playgroups a long time ago.
I was married to an American and lived in Los Angeles for 6 years, Mina was born there and we left the US (when the father and I seperated) when she was 3 1/2, and I was pregnant with Layla, at the time Mina was fluent in English, she was an early talker and spoke very well, and didn't really speak French, she just understood some but that's about it, I had a very hard time speaking French to her, but then when we arrived in France, she refused to speak English as soon as her French was good enough (within 2 months), I would speak English to her and she would just ignore me so I started speaking French to her more and more and it came pretty naturally when we were around people. I tried to speak English to Layla but it was too hard to keep up because of the French surrounding and because of Mina's refusal to speak English. Anyways, I beat myself up over that regularly, it's so stupid for them not to be able to speak English as they are also americans, Mina still understands a little bit, she has some English classes at school when they have time to do some but definitly not enough for her to re learn it good enough. I have a couple of friends who live here and are Canadians so we do speak English together and sometimes Mina says a few words in English with there daughters.

So my question is, can I change that by speaking to them every day mostly with Mina? I know that all the time won't be possible but at least when we are home alone. I'm guessing that it would be very hard with Layla as the only things she knows in English and says every nights is: Good night , I love you.

I also have to add that they don't have any contact with their father since we left.

Thank you

Elise

Mina 01/27/04

Layla 02/05/08

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2012
Thu, 04-05-2012 - 8:32am
Hi! Back from MIA due to morning sickness. Our first child won't be born until October, but I did notice something about my bilingual cousins, who prefer English over German in the States. My aunt and uncle tend to use German as their own sort of private language - so German was used for private arguments and discipline. When they realized my German was now fluent, they joked about having to speak Spanish. Anyway, this plus the fact my aunt tried so hard to actually teach them German makes me think that there is a subconscious negativity about that language for them. My husband thinks our kids will want to speak English in Germany because it's considered 'cool' but I think it has more to do with the type of exposure the kids have to the language. I plan to fill the house with English books, DVDs, pc games and the like. Also Interesting - suddenly my cousins became interested in speaking German when they found out I could speak it, too.

The Girl Scouts is a great idea! I'll have to look them up here. I might also look for a church with mass in English or something. I find it's more fun for language to be acquired passively while doing something you're interested in - it's quite motivating that way. (Also reminds me of all the French vocabulary I learned and was able to teach as a ballet teacher. :-) )

- JM

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Mon, 04-02-2012 - 7:23am

Wow pre-teen starts that early? It doesn't leave me much time before I start banging my head on the walls then, Ishi is turning 3 in July, and I already don't know how the time passed that fast.
She is quite an attitude already and I told DH that the teenage years with our daughter is going to be scary, she doesn't speak much of anything just now, but among the few words she mastered "No" is a frequently used one, not only the word but the different tones...argh!
just yesterday we were at a relativ'es kid birthday party and after leaving I opened the door and told her to go climb in her car seat and she looked me straight in the eyes and said "NO" then I repeated that it was a non negotiable and she had to get in and she put her hands on her hips and repeated no shaking her head. I got her in without a tantrum though. Then back home I wanted her to get into her night wear and she ignored me so I went picking up some and seeing what I picked she said "noooooo" grabbed the clothes and put them back in the wardrobe and picked up shorts but refused to pick anything else so I picked one of the night t-shirts and she looked at me and said "no no no no no" on a sarcastic tone clearly denoting I had lost my mind and pointed form me to put it back where it came from and she picked another one. Nothing new she suddenly started being extremly particular about her clothes :) Style conscious so early!

Sounds indeed like your daughter won't have much of a choice in Scotland but to speak English or spend a lot of time alone :)


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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-11-2003
Mon, 04-02-2012 - 3:55am

Yes it's pretty nice around here, I grew up here and I really can't see myself moving away now that I have kids.

I'm guessing that she wanted to block English at first because she wanted to blend in with the other kids, my kids are alreay biracials so I guess it was enough difference for her as well as the fact that she's had no contact with her father for the past 4 years so it's probably linked as well but at 8, she doesn't see the benefits of speaking English fluently yet, and she's 8 going on 18, I didn't know that pre teen started that early nowadays!

We might be going to Scottland in May for a few days for a friend's birthday and there'll be a bunch of kids and she'll have no other choice but to speak English if she wants to play with them!

Elise

Mina 01/27/04

Layla 02/05/08

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Sat, 03-31-2012 - 11:42am

Wow the South of France is such a beautiful region :) been there on a few holidays myself.

Odd about your daughter, I wonder why she is so against English, maybe she is going thorugh a rebelious phase...sigh. But yup it's not really her choice, and knowing English is very important in today's world, even if she doesn't like it now she will tank you in a couple of years when she will breeze through it for her Bac exam :)


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Registered: 06-11-2003
Sat, 03-31-2012 - 4:30am

Well I live in a small village in the south of France and there isn't much around here, there's probably stuff in Marseille but it's a bit too far.

I once met an american woman at Mc Donalds and she told me about an american group in Provence, I thought about joining butmost of the people are based in Marseille, also it's reserved for american people, so I'm not sure that I'd be accepted as only my kids are americans.

I talked to my girls last night about speaking English at home, Layla doesn't mind but Mina said no, it sucks and she doesn't want to speak English, anyway I told her it's not her choise to have and even if she chooses not to speak it, she'll , at least, will be able to understand and that's better than nothing in my books.
It's weird that she refuses with me but doesn't with her Canadian friend, she'll try to say a few words in English to her sometimes.

So I'll see how that goes, I just to have to manage to keep up with that!

Elise

Mina 01/27/04

Layla 02/05/08

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Registered: 03-19-2002
Fri, 03-30-2012 - 11:40pm

My mom's friend is Swiss lived in New York for a long time before coming back after leaving her husband, at the time her oldest daughter was about 8 and she had the same concern about her English, fortunately there was a US Girl Scout headquarter in Geneva and she enrolled her in just so she would be forced to keep up with the English language.
I have no idea if they have many troops outside US, they had one bigger headquarter somewhere in Germany because there is a big military base there and lots of US expats, Geneva is an international city with offices such as the UN and ILO so that could be why they have one. or maybe they have them in other big cities, that would be something worth investigating, or maybe an American expat club?


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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-11-2003
Fri, 03-30-2012 - 9:41am

Hi Cynthia,
Thanks for your reply, I tried to DVDs thing when she was younger, it was fine at the beginning because her English was still good but then once she started to forget it, she wouldn't watch them, I should probably do it with Layla as she doesn't mind it too much yet, she is quite curious about English.

I think I'll have a talk with them after school to set up some English time at home, I'll have to try very hard to keep it up and not give in!

Elise

Mina 01/27/04

Layla 02/05/08

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Fri, 03-30-2012 - 9:04am

Hi and welcome, nice to hear from another native french speaker :) I'm from Switzerland, Geneva to be exact, though I have been living in India for the past 8.5 years.

I'm not yet at the stage where my daughter prefers one language over another, I speak mostly French but her playschool teacher keeps stressign I should speak English and forget French because my daughter is not speaking much, I tried to reassure them that all high of her 2.5 years of age she is not speaking much of anything at home either, but that as far as I can see she understands both English adn French and follows instructions in both...sigh

In the case of your daughter, since she is pretty clear about whcih language is what and has a preference to enforce a new system: English at home, French outside the home, and whenever she replies to you in French just keep on speaking English or just pretend you didn't get it to encourage her to speak in English. make a rule about DVD to be watched in English only, and if you can get as much books in English as possible to drive the point home.


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