Learning French

Jonah turned 18 months on April 1st.  What a big boy! He is a true, blue toddler– into everything, full of personality, and talking a ton.  We have been raising him in a semi-bilingual household since birth.  I speak English and Josh speaks to him mostly in French.  It has been really cool watching him learn both languages, and we have seen some incredible progress. This is just my little update on how he has been doing and what we have learned from this experience so far.

His first baguette

Our basic routine goes a little like this: When Josh is home (after work and on weekends), he speaks to Jonah strictly in French.  He talks about things they are doing, asks him questions, and now that Jonah is talking– he asks him to answer him in French.  Josh reads Jonah French books before bed.  We listen to French children’s music in the car every so often and have even found a few French videos that Jonah enjoys watching.  When Jonah is with me during the day, he rarely speaks French.  He may count or say some words in French, but for the most part he seems to know that mommy speaks one way and daddy speaks another.

Goodnight Moon-- in French!

We have not noticed any confusion or speech delay because of this, which many people seem to worry about when teaching young children another language.  Josh has done a lot of research on the topic and has found that multiple languages actually can improve a child’s speech and language recognition.  Jonah understands both of us perfectly.  And he can easily switch from one language to the next when we are both home interacting with him.

Now that Jonah is starting to talk and say his little phrases, we are really excited to see how his French develops.  From the words we have heard him say in French, we have already noticed a perfect little French accent.  It really is incredible how well he is doing.  This video is his most recent display of his French skills: counting to ten!

As far as where we plan on going from here, we really aren’t sure yet.  There are only a couple of French-immersion schools in the Baton Rouge area, so it is hard to say if we will have French as part of his school day.  I know Josh will continue what he’s doing because he loves doing it, but beyond that we just aren’t sure yet.  As long as Jonah is still enjoying French and responding well, we will continue.  So, I guess we will just see how it goes!

Here is another cute video of Jonah making animal sounds when asked in French.

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