16 February 2007
Sorry, this'll only make sense to those of you who speak French

« Matthieu, n’appuie pas si fort sur ton testicule » (What he was doing looked very painful)

« Sur mon qu’est qui coule ? »

« Ton tes-ti-cule. »

« D’accord, mama. Tu as raison……. Mais qui est-ce qui coule ? »
posted by Doc at 14:22 | Permalink |


  • At 17:14, Blogger Nicole

    You speak French to them?

  • At 18:13, Anonymous pat

    I as just going to ask the same thing - do you only speak in French to your children? If so, why?

  • At 18:25, Blogger Catherine

    I can't speak French, but I know a TESTICULE when I see one. *giggles*

  • At 20:04, Anonymous Alison


  • At 23:55, Blogger Doc

    I don't only speak French to him but as it is the language he hears most, it's kind of hard to get away from. Muppet understands English and says a few words, but mostly he speaks French. It's what he hears most.

  • At 02:20, Blogger PutYourFlareOn

    OH boy, I have this to look forward to! :)

  • At 10:08, Blogger Nicole

    Well, so , if you don't mind me asking and turning your comment section into a forum for expat parents, what is your take on raising bilingual kids? We're doing the whole one person / one language thing. I speak only (and I'm wicked strict about it) English to the boys and husband only French. And they use the same with us. They both speak English really well, although the eldest has a richer vocab in French. The youngest is much more proficient in English (thank you congé parental)but he's 3 and goes to school in the mornings this year so that will probably change. They speak English to each other. How does it work at your house?

  • At 11:17, Anonymous pat

    Hi Nicole - we only speak English at home as a family (I am American, husband is Moroccan). My boys are now nearly 9 and 10-1/2 and completely bilingual French/English - both (especially the older one) speak, read and write in English and French. Most of their French has been learned at school, from friends, and some from their father. As they are older now, there is more French in the home as we all help with homework and they have friends over from time to time. btw - they only speak in English with each other as well, even during recreation at school. And just to throw in a little more, they are both heading towards being trilingual with Arabic (their father's language).

  • At 11:20, Blogger Doc

    How does it work at our house? Ha! Nothing works at our house. (don't you read my blog?) It's a huge source of frustration for me.
    I would love very much to do the one parent/one language thing as everyone (that being the experts) claims that's the best way to go. But most folks don't work from home and don't have the constant language battles as we do. The phone rings--French, someone at the door--French, the in-laws--French. And I know eveyone has to deal with this, it's just that here it's non-stop because this is home and office for both of us. Not a day goes by when we don't have nine thousnad French people parading through the house. And the most frustrating part of all of it is me. I have such a hard time switching back and forth from one language to the other. I live in French. Marc and I are used to talking in French because that's the one thing that got me over the language hurdle and now we're kind of stuck there--although we do realize this is probably one of those things that needs to change. I do not, however, watch French TV (too tiring), so with the exception of Piwi (the cartoon channel), their TV exposure is in English, as are 90% of all the DVDs we watch with them (Barbapapa doesn't give us this option--buggery bastards).
    Like I said, Muppet understands English fairly well, and he does speak it a little--especially when he doesn't get his way. Apparently he thinks a little English goes farther than a lot of French, so when the tenth 's'il te plait' doesn't work he pops out with the 'PLEASE!!' (And I shouldn't reinforce this behavior, no, I shouldn't but it's so damn cute!) He's also starting to try to talk to my sister on the phone and that's always fun. He'll tell her in French then repeat the English translation I give him, with a charming little French boy accent. And that seems to be helping, too.
    Lately I've really had to force myself to speak English with him. It's been frustrating becaue as soon as I get one word stuck in his brain, he'll go next door and the in-laws will 'correct' him. They have his best intentions at heart, and they realy don't seem to realize what they're doing, but it so discourages me sometimes. And it seems like once the damage is done it's very hard to erase. If the only person telling him 'banana' is me while the rest of his world is saying 'banane', it gets vary hard to convince him otherwise.
    Oddly I find it easier to speak English to Pooplette--probably because she doesn't correct me (yet). But for now she's still speaking Klingon, albeit with a pseudo-Japonese accent. She's only 13 months old, so I'm not too worried. Not too terribly worried about the other one yet, either--he's not even three yet.

  • At 12:40, Blogger Nicole

    I understand your frustration - language is so important, especially when we're living so far from home. And I do know what you mean about switching all the time, but it does get easier, I have to do it all day long too. Although I am alone with the kids quite a bit. And you're right - they're still really little so you have time to set up something new if you want to. We do a lot of the 'yes, in French we say banane but in English we say banana and it's really important to be able to say it in both languages, that way you can speak with your whole family, not just one side of it' thing. Husband and I speak only French together too. We've tried to switch or mix but it doesn't work. It's like our relationship is in French and it just feels weird in English. But I do still think you can make it work. P will probably pick it up much faster - Boy2 had the benefit of hearing me have lengthy (and constant) conversations:scoldings:lectures with his older brother whereas the oldest just heard me having monologues until he could answer back.

    Pat - That's so great - the trilingual thing I mean. And how did you help them maintain the English between themselves thing? Mine are really consistent with it now but I'm afraid that'll change as they get older.

  • At 12:50, Blogger Margie

    Here we do the one parent/one language. I speak english, my husband french to the kids, but they answer me almost always in french. They understand everything I say but it's rare that they respond to me in english.
    They're 4 1/2 and 6 1/2 yrs old and especially since starting school french is more dominant.They also speak to eachother in french. To me it seems logical since it surrounds them.
    What I've noticed is when we are back in the US the english comes to them pretty easily after a few days. It must be there lurking in their brains somewhere. I haven't been able to insist on english when they answer me, and I sometimes wonder if I should have. Don't know if it would work very well. I don't want conversations to become a battle of wills. I also noticed as the oldest is now 6 1/2 yrs old he'll spontaneously answer me in english. Over the summer when they were out of school he spoke to me much more in english, without realizing it. The girls(4 1/2 yrs) are a mix sometimes. Example: "on va take a bath maman?"
    Every family is different with different situations, and of course how kids learn the languages will vary as well.
    I can see doc in your situation where it would be more complicated still. Luckily for me I've got a mother in law who tries to speak english to my kids which they find very amusing.

  • At 13:14, Blogger Deb

    LOL! Gotta love little boys!

    I speak to my little girl in English only. Good thing, because my French sucks! She'll be teaching me!

  • At 23:10, Blogger Wendz

    Doc - I am like you....we speak Franglais with more and more French creeping in. It's so hard to switch back and forth. The boys mainly speak French to each other as well. They even dream in French these days!

    I am not very good at insisting on English anymore - used to do it but bloody hell it's knackering.

  • At 14:52, Blogger meredith

    The thought of a test-qui-coule is pretty gross ;)

    Don't worry about the language, speak english to them when you can, it's already obvious to them that you know how to speak french to other people so french may be a dominant language for a while. As my girls grow older, their interest in english is picking back up, and as they already understand it bilingually, they are now more ready to speak it. My six year old will now talk to grandma on the phone in english, where a couple of years ago, she refused to.

    I had to laugh at the how do you do it at your house!! I didn't follow any rules, and so far, we are all still in one bilingual piece.

  • At 17:45, Blogger Nicole

    Actually, I didn't write 'how do you do it', I wrote 'how does it work'. As for following rules, I think we all realize there aren't any.

  • At 17:39, Blogger afoos

    We have a 2 an a half year old son an a 6 month old daughter. What we've done since the birth of our son is speak entirely English with him (my husband is French but an English teacher who speaks beautifully) at home because he hears French 4 days a week full time at the daycare, and that will continue at school next year. My husband likes relating to his son in English, and it seems that this is the closest way we can come to 50/50 French-English. If my husband spoke French, it would be more like 3/4 of the time French and 1/4 English. Our son is definitely bilingual so far. Although sentences are not his thing yet, he will translate words and will say a word in French and switch immediately to English with me.

    I don't think raising bilingual children is a "natural" thing. It takes time to read all those stories in English, to explain in both languages, etc... But, I do think it is a gift we can give our children 'almost' effortlessly. But, every household is different and we all have different time factors and restraints, and that all has to play a role too, if not we would go insane!