I have a few baby-related topics that I obsess about. One is giving RJ early exposure to French. C’est compliqué because neither hubby nor I is a native French speaker. I started learning French more seriously at age 13 in an extended French program at school (where about a third of subjects are taught in French and the rest in English).
Second language researchers will tell you that the sooner a second language is introduced, the easier the acquisition of that language will be. So I try to speak a little bit of French to RJ every day. And I’ve started to take an evening conversational French class to brush up my abilities as much as possible so I don’t wind up teaching her some kind of horrible stilted anglicized version of French (something I worry about).
Most advice about raising bilingual children that I’ve found is geared towards parents who are native speakers of two different languages. In those cases, it is recommended that each parent attempt to speak exclusively to the child in their native tongue.
In our own unique case, I try to get some simple French books from the library and read them on an almost-daily basis to RJ. I have also been putting a lot of effort into learning French nursery rhymes. RJ and I have been enjoying that very much.
This youtube video could keep us going forever. We’ve only learned three songs from it.
I also wanted to play some French radio during her naps, but I’ve found that the daytime music on our local French station is not to my liking. So I ended up purchasing this album by Francine Chantereau on iTunes. I would highly recommend this album because the instrumentation on the tunes is nice (I often find that the settings of recorded children’s music sound like terrible cheap midi files). In addition, it has a half hour at the end of Peter and the Wolf.
Bref, RJ and I both enjoy these little practices. And that joie de vivre is the most important French lesson of all.