Sharing the Love of Languages

Posts tagged ‘biliteracy’

Spontaneous Speech by the Sunny Earth Kids

SOLEIL

Soleil has started speaking French spontaneously! It is so cool! I have created this blog post so I can start recording some of the things she is saying.

1. Où est le chat? <–Along with other “Où est…” questions. Read more about where she got this phrase from here.

2. Je suis petit. <—She’s missing the “e” to make petit feminine…but I am raising that affective filter to stop and correct her spontaneous speech! What I do is say back a sentence about myself using the proper pronunciation of “petite” in the feminine form.

3. Je suis triste/contente/malade/etc. <—Special thanks to @jeannedelalune for this gem that has taught the children these useful phrases. To see her amazing website, click here. Soleil has really taken a liking to Mimi la souris. You can read more about this “liking” here!

4. Et puis ça. <—She said that tonight 6/10/13 when we were finished reading one book, gearing up for next, and she wanted yet another after!

5. Ça c’est bien/bon/amusant/chouette/etc.

Numbers 4 and 5 have come from Soleil without coaching or special repetition from me…I’m not quite sure where or how she has picked them up, but it must be things I’ve said along the way many times over without realizing.

GÉO

Geo has started speaking some French. I will record what I am hearing in this section of the blog. It is not spontaneous speech yet. However, when I speak to him in French and ask him a question, he will give me one or two word answers in French. If I provide him with two possible answers to the question, with a “question totale” (AIM Language Learning technique) then he almost always will answer in French. For instance today at the dinner table, I asked him if he wanted more chicken in French but I phrased it giving him two possible answers: Est-ce que tu veux encore de poulet ou ça va? Do you want more chicken or are you all set. Geo answered with “ça va.”

Geo is not up to answering in a complete sentence yet, but we have not been pushing him to speak French because of his speech delay. You can read more about Geo’s language journey at Geo’s World of Words.

1. Bonjour

2. Papa mon baiser <—A song he has picked up from his sister that he sings around the house. Read more about that here.

3. Merci <—With the touch cue for “c.”

4. S’il te plaît <—He needs me to provide his touch cues for the “s,” “t” and “p” sometimes. For more on Geo’s touch cues, read here.

SOLEIL & GÉO

Both children have certain words and phrases they say only (or mainly) in French. As they come up, I will record them here. (There are many, but I have trouble remembering!)

1. Jolies lumières<—One of the children’s favorite pastimes is driving around during the holiday season at night to scope out all the “jolies lumières” (pretty lights). Even monolingual daddy says it en français, now!

2. Frites<—They love les frites! I cannot wait to take them to Belgium!!!

3. Le panier sale<—This is what I call where they put the dirty clothes. I didn’t know how to say hamper, so I just named it “the dirty basket.” This will probably become one of the many things that will have to be unlearned and retaught when we finally go live in Québec or France for a bit!

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Our Future Multiliterate

Geo is speech delayed. He has verbal apraxia that makes speech difficult for him. We were told to repeat back to him in English what he is trying to say so we can best prepare him for Kindergarten where he will have to speak English. In this video you will see when I work with Geo on the word “off.” I provided him with the touch cue for the “f” sound in “off.” For the “f” touch cue, you place your pointer finger across your bottom lip to show where your teeth have to touch to create the “f” sound. You can see Geo copy my cue when he correctly articulates the “f” sound in “off.” With the cue, his brain gains control over the muscles and movement his mouth needs to produce proper speech. (Or at least, this is what I have come to understand about Geo’s apraxia over the last few months.)

Geo’s speech team said I could still speak to him in French as much as possible. When Geo is in “listen” mode with his mother around (yours truly), he is mainly hearing French. When he is speaking, he mainly chooses English and the English words are the ones we focus on getting him to say. We provide him the touch cues for the English sounds and he puts the sounds together to produce the word. The touch cue helps his brain tell his mouth what to say. All the touch cues touch near the part of the face and throat where the sound is produced (more or less). Seems that no matter how you slice and dice it, gestures and touch cues are a dynamite vehicle for language learning!

When we are not working Geo’s speech, we have gaming and singing time in French in addition to story time. During these times, Geo does say some words in French. At this point, I don’t spend much time teaching him how to pronounce each French word he is not articulating properly. Usually when we are playing, we focus on having fun…don’t you? Learning to speak is hard work for our little guy…if we pushed it on him all the time, he would rebel as he did the first week we began therapy when we made him work to articulate too often.

All in all, we are thrilled with the progress that Geo has made over the past few months in speech therapy. We are equally thrilled with the amount of “franglais”  he is using…articulation aside! (Franglais is what we call English with French words mixed in.) We have a long road ahead to get Geo’s speech up to par with other kids his age, but we are understanding him more and more each day and he is making steady progress.

Hopefully we will be able to provide enough second language exposure to Geo now so that once he has his English articulation down to a science and starts his formal school-based language learning, he will breeze through it saying “Au revoir” to speech delay and “Bonjour” to multiliteracy!

What do you think? Do you think by mixing the language together as seen in this video, Geo will confuse the languages? Is there any advice you could share with us?