Saturday, June 20, 2009

Multilingualism at age 2

Continuing on the linguistic theme, here's some data on how an almost-two-year-old learns three languages. Straight from the baby's mouth.

At first, we had words from both languages (see posts from Feb. 1 and Feb. 22), with a little bit of overlap, then we had some verbs and the indefinite article.

In the middle of March, ChloƩ's cousins and grandparents came for a weekend. The results: we had new door trimming (her grandfather is very helpful around the house) and ChloƩ was singing "Lapin, lapin" (lapin=rabbit) and grabbing every chocolate Easter bunny in the supermarket screaming "lapin!" Among other words, "chaussure" (shoe) and "chaussette" (sock) became very popular around the house. In short, her French vocabulary exploded.

Over Easter we spent a week in France at Gaetan's parents' house.
la sit
par la

and from the depths of sleep: C'est un cookie, Maman.

Sometimes I have the impression that there's more French in there than English. I find this not only disappointing, but surprising. I talk to her all day, everyday, in English and she seems to prefer her dad's language. How cool is that??

But on the other hand, I'm glad that the French is "taking." It's important that she speaks both languages, at least to communicate comfortably with both sides of the family.