First Words

My little Franglais No 1 has just started speaking and although her first words were mostly English (Daddee, Mama, Cat, No, Shoes, Car, Oh Dear & Please) she has also started to say some French words (Au revoir (pronounced orvoir & very cute!), Miam Miam, Merci, Chaud, CaCa (courtesy of her little french boyfriends!) and papa.

I'm finding it intriguing how much she picks up & which words she speaks first in either languages. What were/are your experiences?

Having spent a couple of weeks in the UK my daughter is now speaking English and very little French but I am amused that every now and again she comes out with ‘Bonjour Izzy’ to her sister and reverts back to Mama instead of Mummy. She also continues to say Au Revoir at the door but her use of other French words seems to have diminished. I know she understands because whenever I’m on the phone talking to a friend or builder she smiles at me with a knowing smile.

I’m looking forward to going back to France and seeing her face when she sees our friends again and watching her concentrate on listening to our French conversations. I know I find it tricky having not spoken French every day but I wonder how they find it, being immersed in a language then being taken out of it for a while.

Thanks - I think I’m going to focus on English and not worry about their French, there is a tendancy to worry they’ll be behind when they go to Maternelle but I guess they catch up very quickly.

I have one who is now 21 months old & one 2 months old...great fun!

Jasmine (21m) has now started to use both French & English and I think she is testing to see which one elicits a response. e.g. More please, Encore please...Bread please, Pain Please, Car Mama, Voiture Mama...

In certain situations she uses the French word rather than the English (we're not sure why?) e.g. Tete rather than Head, Chaud rather than Hot even though we're at home & speak English indoors.

She's also started to string 3-4 words together but she mixes French & Englis, she does seem to know both e.g. plait or please, merci or Thank you e.g. pain please mama.

Her favourite french book is Papa et Moi which she duly gives to Daddy who dislikes reading in French & her favourite English book is Thomas the Tank Engine (Choo Choo).

Everyday a new word or string of words which is making life very interesting for us. It's a great pleasure to hear the language develop and see which words in either language she picks up first.


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Hi Susan

We're both English so 'one parent one language' doesn't really work for us. We've decided to try indoor/outdoor whereby we speak English indoors & generally French outdoors. If we have french friends visit us then we speak French in/out and if conversation is just between myself & my husband we of course speak English.

We read lots of English books to our girls and we hope to continue this, perhaps getting them to study English GCSE or equivalent when they are older.

Hi Suzanne,

My son is just 15months, he only says chat, everthing moving animal is chat, all other words are in English, mum, dad, woof woof, etc It will be interesting to see how much he starts to pick up over the next few months. I think and hope he will obviously speak more English to begin with then the French should flow with him being around his big brother (5yrs) we say he's fluent having been at school/maternelle since he was 2.5yrs.


aww that’s cute. Our friends are now asking Jasmine for La Bise so she’s beginning to understand & offers a cheek, occasionally instigating it herself much to our amusement. This week has been interesting as she’s started saying ‘Chaud’ for the oven or drinks but ‘hot’ for the fire & dinner…we assume she knows it is the same meaning but 2 ways of saying the same thing. I’m so curious about how their little minds work.

My youngest who turned 2 a couple of weeks ago says lots of English words but only French (bonjour/au revoir) when he hears his brothers and copies them. However, one 'French' thing he did in UK at Christmas was to look horrified when anyone tried to shake his hand to which he would 'offer' his cheek for a kiss instead!

Jasmine has started to say the names of our friends now which she's finding highly rewarding...Jose at the cafe has been giving her un morceau du pain for a while now but she now pesters him with 'Jose Jose pain merci' he loves it & duly gives her more bread but we're worried she will be annoying in the summer busy months...