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Formule pour obtenir un parfait petit enfant bilingue!!!
Thread poster: ALAIN COTE
ALAIN COTE  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:56
Japanese to French
Jun 6, 2002

J\'aimerais connaître l\'opinion des personnes qui ont des enfants bilingues. Je m\'inquiète un peu, parce que j\'aimerais bien que mon fils (18 mois) maîtrise non seulement le japonais, mais aussi le français, mais comme je suis la seule personne à lui parler français ici (sa mère est japonaise, tout le quartier est japonais, la garderie est japonaise, la télévision est japonaise, la bouffe est japonaise )... je me demande si je suis réaliste en espérant faire de lui un parfait petit bilingue. Le fait que je travaille à la maison a ses avantages, mais j\'ai bien peur que ça ne suffise pas...

Si vous avez vécu une expérience similaire (positive ou négative), ou si vous connaissez de tels gens, ou si vous avez étudié la question dans le cadre d\'études en linguistique, j\'aimerais bien lire vos commentaires ci-dessous...

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-06-06 02:31 ]


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 20:56
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
3 expériences différentes Jun 6, 2002

Bonjour Alain

J\'ai trois enfants, 8, 11 et 13 ans, tous les trois bilingues et qui, malgré la même approche de ma part, n\'ont pas réagi de la même façon. Quand la première est née j\'ai lu tout ce que j\'ai trouvé sur le sujet. Il y a beaucoup de livres, et la plupart (des français) traitent le bilingüisme anglo-français.

Je crois que la règle d\'or se réduit à peu de points :

1)Chacun des parents parle sa langue avec l\'enfant indépendamment de celle qu\'il parle avec le conjoint

2)On ne mélange jamais les langues. Si jamais il manque un mot à l\'enfant et qu\'il le dit dans l\'autre langue, le lui fournir, sans le gronder, mais sans laisser passer parce qu\'on a compris

3) Ne pas désespérer si on se sent minoritaire et persévérer, ne pas abandonner, même si l\'enfant refuse de parler dans la langue et emploie l\'autre.



Mon expérience avec l\'aînée :

Née au Vénézuéla, garderie vénézuélienne. Père français (minoritaire). À 3 ans elle ne parlait qu\'espagnol, mais comprenait tout ce que son père lui disait en français. Quatre mois en France, au début elle ne comprenait pas pourquoi les voisins ne comprenaient pas quand elle leur répondait en espagnol, puisqu\'elle comprenait ce qu\'ils disaient. En deux mois elle a \"sorti\" tout ce qu\'elle avait emmagasinné passivement et en septembre elle est allée à l\'école et on n\'aurait pas dit qu\'elle parlait autre chose que le français.



Ma deuxième fille. Née au Vénézuéla également, mais retour en France à l\'âge d\' un an. Là c\'est moi qui suis minoritaire. J\'ai eu du mal à faire ce que je conseille. Parfois j\'avais l\'impression qu\'elle ne comprenait pas ce que je disais, alors, après avoir parlé en espagnol je reprenais en français, et si j\'étais pressée j\'allais au plus court. Elle a parlé très tard, et j\'ai eu du mal à convaincre une enseignante qu\'elle n\'était pas attardée. En général ils parlent tard les enfants bilingues. En plus elle avait des problèmes d\'oreillons et je pense que cela a été un facteur influent.

Elle ne parlait pas l\'espagnol. À l\'âge de quatre ans départ en République Dominicaine, elle arrive en disant un seul mot en espagnol \"Santo Domingo\". En quelques mois elle le parle couramment.



Le troisième, né en France, arrivé à un an en Rep. Dominicaine. C\'est le seul qui se soit mis à parler les deux langues en même temps. Et qui parlait les deux avec un accent étranger qui faisait rire tous nos copains et qui est complètement oublié maintenant.



Comme tu vois le sujet me passionne, je pense que c\'est le plus beau cadeau qu\'un couple mixte puisse faire à son enfant. Si tu as la possibilité de le scolariser en français je te le recommande, car c\'est une façon de compenser l\'environnement dominant.

Cela demande parfois des efforts, d\'intellectualiser des réflexes, mais le jeu en vaut la chandelle.



Claudia


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Dr. Fred Thomson  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:56
German to English
Sympathy and empathy Jun 6, 2002

Your task will not be easy. I see that you are a translator so I suggest that when your child is four or so, you move your family to France or Quebec. Stay there for several years, then move back to Japan. The schools in each country will help you with your project.

If your child has a flair for languages this approach may work (or at least help). If no flair, lost cause.

I wish you the best of luck. Fred


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Francisco Herrerias  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:56
French to Spanish
+ ...
mon experience aussi... Jun 6, 2002

je suis méxicain, et je n\'ai parlé le francais jusqu\'au seconde, mais je l\'ai étudié dans un lycée francais au Mexique.



La majorité de mes copains etaient des enfants de francais, alors tous parlaient le francias comme leur langue maternelle, mais aussi ils parlaient l\'espagnol par-ce-qu\'ils habitaient au Mexique. Je suis sur qu\'il y a un tel lycée au Japon, tu devraies chercher un peux et ce sera beaucoup plus facile pour toi avec leur aide.


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Lucia Dogbeh, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:56
Member (2002)
English to French
+ ...
Un enfant multilingue est bien préparé pour demain Jun 6, 2002

Alain, je t\'encourage dans ton entreprise. Et surtout, il ne faut pas désespérer quand l\'enfant semble ne pas réagir tout de suite.



Voici mon expérience:

Depuis sa naissance aux USA, je parle uniquement le Francais à ma fille; son père lui parle Igbo. Elle est restée avec moi à la maison jusqu\'à 18 mois. Ses premiers mots à un an étaient en Francais et en Igbo. Depuis qu\'elle va chez la nourrice américaine, voit et s\'amuse tous les jours avec des enfants américains, elle parle plus souvent l\'Anglais. Elle continue à s\'adresser à son père en Igbo, mais \"s\'entête\" à me parler Anglais. Je la reprend ou réagis immédiatement en Frcs.



Aujourd\'hui à 20 mois, elle comprend tout ce qu\'on lui dit dans les trois langues. Comme l\'a dit Claudia, ces enfants tardent à parler. Ma fille ne construit pas encore des \"phrases complètes\" (à part les impératives), mais désignent les objets, ses animaux préférés, utilisent les formules de politesse. Depuis une semaine elle dit constamment \"What is that?\"



Nos amis nous reprochent de l\'embrouiller, mais étant nous même des produits du multilinguisme, nous savons que c\'est le plus beau cadeau qu\'on puisse faire à notre fille.



P.S. J\'oubliais: mon mari et moi étant de nationalité différente et ayant vécu longtemps en RFA parlions uniquement l\'Allemand (notre langue de travail) entre nous. \"Strange\" disent nos amis américains...

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-06-06 03:23 ]


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 17:56
French to English
+ ...
Francais-Anglais Jun 6, 2002

Dear Alain:

I have 2 sons, 17 and 19, and they are both bilingual. With an American mother and a French father, they really had no choice. Both born in Paris, they were surrounded by French speakers and attended French school. The eldest heard only English from me. The situation with the youngest was more complicated.



His brother spoke to him in French only, just as he spoke to the other kids at school. Therefore, I sometimes reverted to French for the sake of continuity at the dinner table.



We traveled back and forth every year and they have always needed both in order to communicate with both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.



The real challenge came when we moved to the US. The youngest was only 3 1/2 years old. He was shy and didn\'t speak much English. It was quite an adjustment.



I spoke to them in French often to make sure that they did not lose their capabilities. It seems to have worked well. Of course, people always favor one language over another. They favor English because they have lived in the states for so many years. However, they continue to travel to France and feel quite at ease speaking French. And they have no accents! Des vrais parisiens!



My advice is don\'t be too uptight about it. Raising a healthy child is priority #1.



Good Luck, Rita


[addsig]


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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:56
Partial member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
My experience Jun 6, 2002

This is my story:

I am Italian and I live in Israel. I have triplets aged 3 1/2 years. I spoke in Italian to them all the time, but I was the only one: their father and all other people speak only Hebrew. At age 3 I realized they were behind in their ability to use L1 (Hebrew), so I decided to stop using L2 (Italian). Now their L1 has improved enormously. I regret they don\'t speak Italian but I had no choice. However, they might have had more difficulties due to the fact that they are triplets. As you know, twins and triplets at the beginning use their own special language, therefore L1 is actually L2 for them, and L2 becomes their third language! Anyway, I know other people who are in the same situation as you and me (i.e. they are the only person who speaks L2 to the kid/kids in an environment which is completely monolingual), and I can tell you that it really depends on the child: some of them master 2 languages with no problem, some don\'t. There are no rules.

HTH.

Laura


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AAAmedical  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 01:56
English to Dutch
+ ...
my experience Jun 6, 2002

Hello Alain,



Don\'t give up. I am in exactly the same situation as you (maybe a bit more complicated). I am Belgian (Dutch mothertongue) and my husband Egyptian. I talk to my 2.5 year old son in Dutch, his father in Arabic. Until 2 he went 3 hours a day to an English speaking nursery (we wanted a french one but this was not possible) and from 2 years on we put him in a French Nursery.

Result at 2.5:

Dutch is the language he knows best

Arabic he makes simple sentences

English he understands simple things

French starts to talk it now



He only hears Dutch from me and I really want him to speak \'my\' language as well. My husband and I are very systematic about talking to our son. When he says something to me in an other language I just say : o yes my dear you\'re right this is a book but than in Dutch of course.



If I can give you one little advice: play individually with your son. I mean by that, reserve a couple of hours a day were you are alone with him. Play actively educational games. I read a LOT of books from a very early age and I always read books while asking questions to him. (what is the little bear doing, what does he have in his hand, whst\'s the color of his T-shirt.,..). Even if at 18 months you will not receive an answer. Just do it. They \'store the information in their brain\'



Everytime I go back to Belgium I buy a lot of books, story CD\'s and video\'s all in Dutch of course. I am not a fan of TV but I let him watch a toddler video every day. Sometimes he doesn\'t even bother to watch it but at least he hears people talking mammy\'s language.



I know it is possible. We in Belgian have many mixed marriages (Walon-Flamand) and the children are doing very well in both languages. Do not give up. You have to be able to talk to your child in \'your\' language. I feel this is very important.



By the way, there must be international schools/nurseries in Japan as well. Why don\'t you inscribe him in one of them. I know they are VERY expensive but I think it is worth the investment.



Have a nice day with your little one



Ann


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Gayle Wallimann  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:56
Member (2001)
French to English
+ ...
The joy of raising kids multilingually... Jun 6, 2002

I would love to write a book about it, only because I love the subject, but I don\'t think that I have anything new to add to what has been said. I have 6 kids, the two eldest 25 and 23, lived in the US for a few years (I\'m US and my husband is French). The first one left for the US at 1 YR old.

We only spoke French at home, exclusively, it was like a little haven for us. Then we moved back to France when the youngest was 3, ready to start maternelle. He had a terrible time deciding what to speak, so he would say nothing, not even to us for two months. He tried to speak to people in English for the first two weeks, I guess because anyone outside of the home for him meant English. Then school started, he was an observer for about two weeks in class and then he decided that French was the way to go. He spoke only French at all times, in spite of any efforts that we made to speak English with him. However, he took English in school as LV3 (German was LV2) and by the age of 16, he was totally back to being bi lingual. Several trips to the states really encouraged tha, too. Now, the other four kids were all born in France, and with school, being worn out from daily work and occupations in a big family, we speak French at home. (The others are 17, 13, 11 and But, at each birth, and for about two years, I spoke English to them all when I was alone with them. They all understand English, practically 100%, and it is great when we can go to the states for them to spend time with cousins. That is where the practice comes in. I am confident that they will all end up bilingual. Sometimes I feel very guilty for not having been a strong force for the language, but I see that it is not lost at all. Whatever you do, Alain, I am sure that it will be the right thing for your child, because you love him and that, as everyone knows, is the most important thing to give the child.

I think that your idea is great to speak to him in French when you are with him, as Claudia suggested. But don\'t let guilt get you down if you forget to do it, or find it difficult at times.


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Giovanna Graziani  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:56
Member (2002)
German to Italian
+ ...
Le point de vue de l'enfant Jun 6, 2002

Bonjour Alain.

Deux mots de ma part aussi: je suis fille de mère de langue française (née en Tunisie) et de père italien. J\'ai toujours vécu en Italie, et en famille on a toujours parlé les deux langues. Jusqu\'à l\'âge de trois ans, le français a été pour moi la langue prédominante: je passais beaucoup plus de temps avec ma mère qu\'avec le reste du monde et je parlais français à mes poupées quand je jouais toute seule. A trois ans j\'ai commencé à fréquenter une garderie et ma petite soeur est née. C\'est là que l\'italien est devenu ma véritable langue maternelle. Et ma soeur n\'a jamais senti le français comme sa première langue, puisqu\'elle avait une grande soeur qui lui parlait italien et vivait à l\'intérieur d\'une ambiance tout à fait italienne.



Je travaille maintenant comme traductrice, mais je ne dis jamais que je suis bilingue, puisque je ne maitrise pas les deux langues de la même façon. Mon français est lié aux activités quotidiennes en famille, puisque c\'est dans ce contexte que je l\'ai appris (même si c\'était une de mes matières scolaires). Je pourrais même dire que dans certains domaines spécifiques (ex. littérature ou philosophie), je m\'exprime mieux en allemand, puisque j\'ai accompli une partie de mes études universitaires en Allemagne.



Mais cette éducation bilingue m\'a quand même aidée énormément, même pour apprendre une troisième et une quatrième langue. Toute petite je comprenais que parler une autre langue ne correspond pas à traduire mot par mot, que l\'oreille doit travailler sur le sens de la phrase entière parce que chaque langue a sa propre sonorité. Et j\'arrivais à ce principe de façon tout à fait instinctive, sans raisonner.



De plus, le coté culturel et humain: une éducation bilingue correspond à une éducation multiculturelle (on voyage déjà quand on est tout petit); l\'enfant apprend naturellement qu\'il y plusieurs façons de vivre, que l\'on peut avoir de différentes habitudes même dans les petits détails quotidiens (ex. la cuisine!), mais que le monde est beau pour ça et qu\'il est beau de jouer ensemble même si l\'on parle des langues différentes! Et ça aide énormément pour grandir!!



Donc bon courage! Une éducation bilingue est quand même une richesse que tu vas semer, et c\'est ton enfant qui va décider au moment juste ce qu\'il en vourra récolter.


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Anneken
Local time: 01:56
French to Dutch
+ ...
Try to be consistent Jun 6, 2002

Hi Alain,



My husband, like you, is French. We live in Belgium (Flemish-speaking part) and have two small children. Our eldest will be four this summer and I must say that we are still having an incredibly difficult task with him. He understands everything perfectly and he replies in Flemish to me and in French to my husband, without any exception. When he is having a conversation with both of us, he tends to translate the Flemish bit into French for his \'Papa\' and vice versa. It\'s quite funny and amazing how quickly he does that! But at the age of four he still tends to simplify sentences to word level, and he seems to be having a difficult time to communicate with his friends at school (who often speak the Flemish regional dialect). His mistresses seem to believe that he thinks more in French than he does in Flemish although my husband is definitely in the minority over here in Flanders...



Our second has 19 months today and she understands and reacts equally to both languages. Her first words were Flemish and French and somehow she does not seem to realize that she thinks in two different languages. She seems to handle this language thing better than our eldest.



We persevere in talking both languages (I speak Flemish, my husband French) because that is how our \'family dynamics\' works and because we are convinced that as Claudia puts it so nicely \", je pense que c\'est le plus beau cadeau qu\'un couple mixte puisse faire à son enfant.\" We hope that our eldest will catch up soon now, but then again, this is not certain and we may have to change our policy...



I fully agree that it depends on the children, some seem to assimilate without any major difficulties, others not. Wait and see how your baby boy will react, but don\'t give up too soon and try to be consistent (ALWAYS speak French to him!!!)



All the best over there in Japan!



Anneken


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Kaori Myatt  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:56
Member (2004)
English to Japanese
+ ...
It is difficult... Jun 6, 2002

but I think kids will pick up any language easier than you think. My husband is French/English bilingual and myself is Japanese living in Japan currently. My son, 2years old is developping his English a lot recently due to his grand parent\'s visit. He seems to be absorbing 3 languages no problem. I totally agree with Rita\'s comment. You souldn\'t push too much. I have heard many stories of bilingual kids against one of their languages. I am trying not to put too much pressure on my kids. My friend\'s 3year\'s boy dosen\'t speak any english although he can understand his American father what he saids. He only responds in Japanese because it is easier for him. In this case, I think he is still waiting for the time to come. When he is ready, he will speak. His parents are still enjoying the time with him.

Most important thing is to enjoy yourself!





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Guylaine Vidal
Spain
Local time: 01:56
Spanish to French
+ ...
Enfin! Jun 6, 2002

Quelle joie de voir enfin ce sujet!!! Je commençais à penser que les Proz n\'avaient pas d\'enfants!!

Alain, je me pose exactement le même type de questions.

Mon fils est né en Espagne, son père est espagnol, son école, sa famille la plus proche, nos amis, etc...

Dès sa naissance, j\'ai mis un point d\'honneur à ne lui parler qu\'en français. C\'est dur; les gens te regardent souvent avec une drôle de tête, la famille espagnol a tendance à faire des commentaires... Mais j\'ai tenu le coup, j\'ai aussi fais face à ces commentaires, et aujourd\'hui, Iván certes ne parle pas français (quelques mots seulement) mais il comrpend absolument tout. et le plus chouette est que son père a aussi appris la langue par la même occasion!

Un fait étonnant: il n\'a absolument pas tardé à parler espagnol, et de plus, il le plarle très très bien pour son âge.. Preuve que \"cada niño es un mundo\" et qu\'ils réagissent différemment. Il est très timide et refuse donc de parler français (sauf en cas de chantage pour aller à Disneyland Paris!!!). Mais je refuse de le forcer, de l\'obliger, et surtout de le frustrer. J\'ai des cousins franco-italiens dont le père voulait absolument les faire parler italien..résultat: ils se sont complètement bloqués et aujourd\'hui, ils ne parlent ni ne comprennent un mot!

J\'aimerais évidemment pouvoir l\'envoyer au lycée français une fois arrivé le moment d\'apprendre à écrire; mais même avec un système de bourse pour les français, cette école reste chère. Pour l\'instant, je persiste à lui parler en français, il regarde la télé en français, et je crois les doigts pour que cela fonctionne...

Mais une chose est sûre: il faut persister.. la langue que je parle avec mon fils est avant tout celle du coeur, et très émotionnelle. je veux dire par là que si je \"vis continuellement en espagnol\", il m\'est très difficile de passer au français de but en blanc, surtout pour faire des câlins, gronder, ou m\'exclamer, etc... C\'est une bonne gymnastique!

Ah,j\'oubliais: à la crèche et plus tard à l\'école, il suit des cours... d\'anglais!!! j\'ai eu peur au débt que cela lui embrouille un peu plus les choses, mais pas du tout! Le fait d\'avoir deux nationalités lui à fait découvrir très vite qu\'il y a plusieurs pays, plusieurs langues, plusieurs couleurs. Il voit donc l\'anglais comme ne langue de plus, et il n\'a aucune difficulté, d\'autant plus que le fait que nous parlions nous aussi l\'anglais rend les choses encore plus naturelles.

BREF! C\'est fantastique, merveilleux et en effet, un superbe cadeau pour eux de rendre nos enfants bi ou trilingues. En plus d\'une autre langue, je suis certaine qu\'ils apprennent à être plus tolérants, adaptables, et à l\'aise dans l\'apprentissage d\'autres langues!

Quant à Iván, dès qu\'il sera un peu plus grand, il passera une partie de ses vacances en france avec ses cousines!!!

Désolée d\'être un peu longue mais c\'est un sujet sur lequel je pourrais parler des heures!

à bientôt,

Guylaine


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CLS Lexi-tech
Local time: 19:56
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
The affective colour of the language is important. Jun 6, 2002

I live in Hull (Quebec); Italian is my mother language and my husband is anglophone.

We made no special efforts, as I recall, with my son. Spoke what came to us naturally. His first word was Italian (acqua-water); his first sentence was:

Man donne acqua. Three words, three languages. I really thought I had made a mess of the whole thing. No, sirree. Alan is perfectly bilingual (goes to school in French, speaks and writes English very well, and is very capable of holding his own in Italian).

One thing I did do, is not make a duty of speaking one language or the other. Let me explain. In Canada we have Saturday heritage language schools. On Saturday there is no regular school, so the children of immigrants end up having to go to school an extra day to \"keep\" the heritage language of their parents. This \"duty\" approach does not work. I have taught Italian at the university level and the students that had the most difficulty were the so called \"italophone\" at home. They had no passion for the language, but rather approached it with a sense of duty. It does not pay off in the long run. I sent Alan to Saturday school only one year and took him out. Italian, it turns out, is a pleasure for him: the language of visitors from Italy, the language of special visits to Italy, of colloquialisms and affection.

I dare say that the same principle of avoiding the sense of duty in teaching and learning a language should be applied in Quebec. The proibition surrounding learning English at an early age, and the sense of duty surrounding the keeping of French, makes learning English the \"forbidden fruit\". And I don\'t have to tell you how kids act towards forbidden fruits. Hence a certain sloppiness towards French. Nobody forced me to enroll my son in French school: it was my choice. As a result my son is perfectly bilingual. But this is a different problem.

And to complicate matters, Alan is now learning Spanish in school. For entire week-ends he subjects his father and me to speaking only Spanish. We had to buy tapes and books. Again, his teacher in school was passionate and motivating, stressing the pleasure, not the difficulties.



All the best, Alain.



paola l m



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Formule pour obtenir un parfait petit enfant bilingue!!!

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