Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bilingual Baby

My husband is a born and raised Francophone. I love that about him. He is super-duper bilingual and speaks and writes english better than most people, including me. He and I are passionate about having a bilingual baby which means, from day one, french will be our baby's first language. In our city, french is an incredibly important language to have. I struggle a lot with the job limitations only speaking english puts on me. I know that if our baby learns french first, english will follow. That's what I want for our baby.

My Mommy friend and I were talking about this on our last visit. I know it will be difficult if I can't fully communicate with our baby in my own natural way (english). I know it will hard for me to speak french enough. I know I will likely rely on reading to our child in french, listening to french songs and speaking very basic sentences. I hope I will learn more french as knowing it becomes more important.

For our baby to "think in french" is the most important thing. Many people don't realise that when you think, you think in your first language. I think in english, you probably do too. If you are bilingual, you would to your most natural language, or the one you are using most. My husband says he thinks in both languages, depending on the subject matter. For example, in his computer work which uses primarily english terms and acronyms, he thinks in english. He probably thinks in english when he talks to me too. With his brothers and family however, the switch is flipped and he thinks and mostly communicates in french.

One of our nephews (age 5) has been struggling at his french school because he thinks in english. He speaks mostly english to his english mom (his dad is french, my husband's brother) and now he thinks in english too. His brother (age 8) has always thought in french and was translating between the two languages from a very young age. That is the goal for our baby.

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