I realize that I haven’t written about Enzo’s progress in learning Spanish and French lately. If you’re just reading my blog, here’s how we stand: Enzo is soon turning four, and at home we speak Spanish and French to him. He learns English at daycare. As of January, Enzo is also taking Spanish lessons at his daycare, three times a week. This is truly wonderful! He comes home singing hello songs and more, and he is so excited about it.
We continue using a bag of tricks at our disposal: books, music, movies, toys… in both Spanish and French. We firmly believe in making language learning FUN!
Enzo is learning a lot, but of course there are some things that he confuses. Here are some of the issues he’s currently dealing with:
1. Confusion of EL (Spanish) and ELLE (French). This is a tricky one. El in Spanish means He or is the masculine pronoun for an masculine object… El carro, el reloj, etc. ELLE in French means SHE (The total opposite!) So he confuses these two; which is normal. We just correct him gently and explain that some words are different in Spanish and French. I constantly say “En español, es así, y en francés, es así.”
2. Mixing up EL/LA: In Spanish and French are masculine and some are feminine. The issue for Enzo is that not all the words are the same in both languages, i.e. car is “el carro” (masculine) in Spanish and it’s “la voiture” (feminine) in French!
3. Mixing the R sound in the different languages: When I was little, I couldn’t pronounce the Rs in Spanish… Enzo’s problem is different. When he is speaking in French. He rolls his Rs in French words the Spanish way!
4. Adding letters at the end of words: Enzo is adding letters at the end of French words.
5. Literal translation from one language to another: Sometimes when Enzo is code-switching his brain will translate phrases literally. For example, he wanted to say “be careful” and he was speaking in French “Fais (from the verb FAIRE = to do, to make) attention” so when he switched to Spanish he said “haz (from the verb HACER=to make) cuidado” instead of “TEN (from the ver TENER=to have) cuidado.”
Bilingualism (or multilingualism) is a journey which is constantly changing. Where are you in your journey? What challenges or wins would you like to share? Leave your comments or questions below!