Language Acquisition

Every day that Little Red comes home from school and zips through his homework (in Italian) and plays with his toys, singing in Italian, and answers by saying “io” I marvel. My five year old baby speaks Italian! It’s amazing. I missed the beauty of it all when I was five, and I was learning French, but I am trying not to miss a minute of this miracle happening in my son.

Once upon a time I was fully fluent in French. I say this in the past tense because I have lost so much in the thirteen years that I’ve been in the States. I’ve had so little opportunity to practice and I haven’t taken the time to read in French. The friend I had in college who was francophone also turned out to be certifiably crazy. In Hawaii the Tahitiennes teased me for my accent andspoke to me in English. In Virginia … well let’s just say that I was starting to feel like a fraud by then so even if there was someone with whom I could converse, I’d have likely switched to English.

When the boys were babies and I would occasionally reach for a French book instead of an English book my mouth struggled to force out the shapes the noises required, so unused was I to making them. Amazingly, however, as I watch Little Red learn Italian, and gradually pick up the odd Italian word myself, my French is coming back. It feels so good!

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3 thoughts on “Language Acquisition

  1. I used to be fluent on sign language. I’m sooooo bad now. Jaedin has suddenly gotten curious about it though and constantly asks me what signs mean what. I have to refer to the book way too often, but it’s awesome that I’m remembering some too 🙂

  2. I’m sure you have heard this concept before, but my sister, who took French in high school, and in college, and served a mission in Montreal, continues 18 years later, to read The Book of Mormon in French. She will also occasionally read a familiar book in French. I think the last one was Pride and Prejudice. I know it is not the same thing as speaking it, but it has helped.

    Also, I was just thinking the other day about a mutual Brazilian friend who speaks English really quite well. I think it is in part, because she doesn’t care how many mistakes she makes, she just keeps talking. 🙂

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