Parlez-vous francais?

Although most of those who write here are English immigrants perhaps it would be good to try writing in French every now and then, in order to integrate more fully and to learn nuances. You can start by correcting my simple French :-)

Je suis anglais et je ne parle pas bon francais, mais pour moi c'est possible de lire francais un peu, et vous ? Parlez-vous ou lire francais ?

19 Of The Most Gorgeous Words Of The French Language - any other suggestions? :-)

Hello Chris, I grew up speaking French/English & then German at home and learnt Vlaams in Antwerp. Tot ziens!

Hi Veronique (sorry, but don't have accents on my keyboard). May I ask where you are from? It's not every day you meet someone speaking English and French and throwing in Dutch for good measure :) (I am from Flanders)

My husband is Canadian and between the two of us, we have had quite a few of these "misunderstandings" with hilarious effects or very puzzled faces.

Merci Andrew & Veronique, français est difficile à comprendre et je fais beaucoup d'erreurs, en partie parce que je ne reçois pas assez de pratique et bien que je peux lire et suivre une conversation écrite dans la vraie vie, il est trop rapide. Donc, la pratique, la pratique rend ..... mieux si pas parfait.

I entirely agree Andrew - & Elizabeth, some foreigners/ex-foreigners who come to live here have become good or very good at French & like to use it for fun on SFN as well as for helping other people, or to test things out with an audience who will understand...

I think it is hard for monoglot French people to appreciate the occasional absurdities of the language and the pitfalls that lie in wait for the poor innocent unsuspecting foreign learner (there are traps for native speakers too, but often not the same ones) & now I have those Searle drawings of a gerund & a gerundive in my head!!!

Isn't that the whole point, speaking French is an essential part of surviving France. Some of us came here when there was nothing like SFN, internet hardly existed, it was in at the deep end, sink or swim. Now all these things exist, why not use them, helping others with their French is very SFN, isn't it?

Speak Fremch on another site. This one is about how to survive in France"

Thanks, Helen, I managed to get them to watch a bit of cbeebees, or how ever it's spelt, on the computor (we only have french tv) but as soon as my back was turned they'd changed it for french tv...!

Mine started doing occitan too so they can speak to papi and mamie but they've changed school and it's no longer available. I tried speaking to them in italian too, but they hate that!

eply to Andrew's comment below. There's nowt like a bit of english telly to encourage them along (and you, whilst filing your nails, can watch BBC4 documentaries which my kids now watch - when they are not plugged in electronically !)

Otherwise our librarian here encouraged the kids to take out bandes dessinées because that gives them exposure to current spoken language. Not many though in english. They will learn it when they become the go to person in college english lessons or when they perceive english to be cool - like you say no point being too hung up about it.

Sadly now my children speak more english than french since OH is here more often. One even did his Bac TPE in english with his friends who are in an english euro SI class. So I feel the same as you in the opposite direction.

Even more annoying is their lack of ability to learn spanish in the classroom because they say they don't just want to learn vocab and conjugaison

I'm jealous! I was mono-lingue until my late 20s, started french at 30 so what ever happens at least my kids will have a better linguistic start than me! Sooo true what you say about bi-lingual/native/mother tongue etc. I'm bilingual but french will always be a second language, my day-in-dayèout language but not my mother tongue whereas you have two mother tongues/native languages.

OPOL - yes in an ideal world...! As with teaching/learning languages - there are so many different methods that a bit of everything isn't a bad idea, cherry pick if possible, do what works for you. I'll keep exposing my kids to English and as and when the occasion arises, put them into contact with anglophone kids/people. To be honest, and odd when said by someone who's studies and taught languages, I'm not that hung-up about my kids and English, there are so many other things going on that are more important and I don't want the whole thing to turn into a linguistic crusade...!

I didn't realise not everyone spoke both, when I was little. I thought it was just that they chose to speak a particular way in one place & another way in another place & I had to speak appropriately to them because they were adults and that's how they liked it. But I spent my time going back & forth from the S of F to GB & switched all the time without thinking about it, except with my parents who both spoke both.

I think of Fr & Eng as one language, my native one, there's no difference for me & interestingly that is how my daughters see it too. I think they have all reinforced each others' language because there are 5 of them. I don't think there's one single 'best method' though - I know there's a lot of hoo-ha about OPOL (one parent one language) but my parents didn't do that & nor did I and my daughters & I are the most completely bilingual people I know. Many 1/2 & 1/2 people I know certainly favour one language even if they are 'fluent' in the other (but are not what I'd call native speakers).

oh I'll keep going, don't worry about that, as an ex-languages teacher I can't do anything else!!!

Mine answer in french because they have no active English yet, last visit (once a year) to see their cousins in the Uk was a communications disaster but I will keep struggling away...! :-)

From speaking to other mixed nationality couples it does seem to make a big difference if it's the dad or the mum who speaks the "foreign" language. It seems to work far better when it's the mum (mother tongue and all that)...

Oui je sais, c'est pas facile.

Just keep on speaking to them in English even if they reply in French. At that age they don't want to appear different from their friends, but when they're older they can see the advantage of having high marks in a subject which can increase their 'moyen'.

It'll pay off in the end.

no it's a very good point and one I/we are aware of. After 2+ years we've recently taken someone on fulltime which has made life a lot easier but still means a 60 odd hour week. We're closing on Easter Monday to have a day all together which is great but it doesn't help linguistically! I have an hour or so a day with them between when I get in at 8ish and when they go to bed so it's not as if I don't see them or work away which many fathers seem to do now. I've just been saying goodnight to my youngest and did speak to him in english but when I talked about breakfast tomorrow morning he thought I was saying I had a delivery early tomorrow morning...!

Andrew, you know what is required, less work = more time with the children. You can't revisit the lost time when they've grown. Take an hour per day extra to be with them if you can. My neighbours took on a pub, they shortened the opening hours and days, closing for 1 extra evening (Tuesday) and on the three remaining weekdays they take 2 hours closed in the pm. So they now open only Wednesday to Sunday. You maybe can't close but should consider all options. Now I get off my moral high ground.

Merci, je fais ce que je peux mais c'est dur, et souvent je passe un peu de temps avec eux et après je me dis, "mais t'es c-n, tu viens de passer une demie heure qu'avec eux et tu leur à parler qu'en français...!!!" comme à l'école "peut mieux faire !"

Hi Andrew, even if you had the time you weren't really part of my target audience. You speak French like I do, so you would just end up speaking French all the time. He needs a partner not a teacher.

Quant aux enfants, il faut persévérer! Ils vont te remercier quand ils sont au collège/lycée. Je suis passée par là aussi.

sorry, just don't have the time, in fact I'd be interested if anyone has young anglophone kids who would like to speak some english to mine (7 and 5) who hardly speak a word - don't all shout at once, I do speak to them in english but we're a french speaking household/family and they only see me for such a short time each day :-(

Excellent Elaine, thank you very much. I'll pm you with his details.