About un œuf

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A mysterious title, and I’ll explain it in just a moment. First, I wanted to answer a question that many, many, many people have asked me since our return:

So, is Mon Cœur (MC) speaking to you in French yet?

-Everybody

No, she is not. Despite having spent two and a half weeks pretty much immersion style in France, Mon Cœur (MC) is not yet speaking to me in French. Neither is Chouchou, who was also on the trip with us. Slight age discrepancy there!

I have been consistent with my language input for MC, and despite her responding to me English only, she understand exactly what I am talking about.

Case in point: When putting MC down for her nap today, I told her in French that I needed to work on my blog in the kitchen (Je dois travailler – je vais écrire un article pour mon blog.) To which she responded, “You have to work?”

I can not remember her saying anything more than bonjour, merci, or au revoir while we were on our trip. But anytime someone asked her to do something, she did it. They may have asked her to come to them, to bring them something or put something away, and she would do it.

Or, they would ask her a question, and she would shake her head yes or no or answer in English. She read along intently when stories were read aloud, watched cartoons in French, and was otherwise surrounded by the language. But she does not speak it yet, and that doesn’t bother me because I can tell that she follows what I am saying.

Okay, back to today’s blog post title – About un œuf (an egg)!

Yesterday I was cleaning out our pantry closet, and in timely fashion, found our plastic Easter eggs, stowed away in a Ball jar. I brought them down and continued to clean, not thinking anything of it.

This morning, MC was playing with the eggs, and one fell on the floor. She said, “Oh my œuf!” I was just a few feet away, organizing some books. I was so amazed and astonished to hear this.

I wasn’t so shocked about the word – she knows an egg is un œuf. We use it frequently when we’re in the kitchen and recently we’ve been reading an interactive book in French where you have to find and count the eggs.

I was simply impressed that without me prompting in French, or us having any conversation before this response, she would think to use the word œuf.

Later this morning, when MC went to the bathroom, she pointed to her book and said, “I’m going!” which although in English, was a direct translation for the French potty training book she was pointing to, J’y vais! that a friend gave her on our recent trip. This book has stayed in her bathroom and she requests a reading (or two!) every time she goes to the bathroom. She occasionally repeats along with me, “J’y vais!” (I’m going [there/ to the bathroom]!

This, I think may be the beginning of her starting to respond, in simple words, in French to me. This is such exciting news! I’m happy with her simply speaking understanding French. This is an added bonus though and I hope this is just the beginning and not some fluke use of language.

If you’re raising bilingually, was there a moment that marked the beginning of your child’s use of the second language?

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