When I put breakfast down on the table for my six-year-old daughter, it is not unusual to receive a “Bon Appétit, Mummy!” in response. I think most of us Brits can pull a phrase or two of French out from a dusty corner of our mind to pass on to our children, and anything food-related is certainly guaranteed to stick in my home!
However, this year my aim is to make a conscious effort in ensuring that French becomes a constant and stable second language for the whole family. I can often be found learning bits for this language or that language, usually based on where I’m planning to spend a month or two, but as I have already invested so much in French in the past it feels like the right time to nail it once and for all, regardless of what other languages we are dipping into along the way.
Of course, really it is my daughter who has sparked this new drive. Observing her ability to pick up various phrases with such ease has highlighted to me the potential of submersing her sponge-like brain into languages while she is young enough to pick them up with minimum effort. She can rattle off a little Italian, Spanish and French, but now that she is really showing a true desire to learn more, it feels like the right time to make an honest attempt—and what better way than together?
So, as well as my daughter attending a regular Spanish class with her friends, as a family we have decided to study French together using the Rosetta Stone programme. My husband and I have a head start as back when our daughter was just one, we spent a year learning French with a wonderful teacher in preparation for a travelling adventure through France. However, despite fond memories of our lessons, the memory of what we actually learnt is most definitely rusty, so we are hoping that Rosetta will rectify this!
Our first practical test is going to be a little jaunt to Paris for a few days in early March and guess what the top phrase my daughter wants to learn is?
“How do I ask for three croissants in the bakery, Mummy?”
I told you, food always gets in there somewhere.
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