Monday, September 14, 2009

Séjour linguistique

At the ripe age of two years and two months, le Petit is starting the new academic year with a month of study abroad. My in-laws joked that he was heading on his very own toddler séjour linguistique a dozen years ahead of his peers. While he already understands English well from hearing me speak it at home all the time, I think I've noticed a marked improvement in his spoken English since we've arrived in the US.

He's learned what any tourist knows: master the culinary vocabularly first. On our trip to the farmers' market today he asked for "more strawberry" instead of "more fraises," and at lunch and dinner he demanded "more meat!" And a delicious new treat has entered his vocabulary: a-ni-mal cwa-kers (s'il te plait).

He says 'big step' then spontaneously translates it to 'grosse marche' when his Daddy doesn't immediately understand.

He screams 'wanna get out' instead of 'descendre' to leave his crib at nap time, hoping that I'll understand.

He exclaims 'Oh my goodness!' convincingly.

He says 'no' instead of 'non,' and with the accent and whiny conviction of an American high school student.

He protests with 'I don't want' as well as 'Tu ne veux pas'.

He repeats everything he overhears. I pleaded with him to give up a bit of his two-year-old negativity, reminding him that his favorite guy President Obama says 'Yes We Can.' Sure enough, le Petit promptly repeated, 'Yes we can.' It was adorable. Now if only I could get him to say it like he meant it at nap time.


T. said...

I've been lurking but just had to "come out" to tell you how great I think it is that Obama is Le Petit's "favorite!"

I've so enjoyed your stories about him. My "petits" are not so petit any more...

Thanks for your stories. I'm married to a French guy too (half-American), and though we live in the States, our hearts are definitely over there in France.

caramama said...

It's so neat how bilingual kids know just what language to use when! You get those strawberries, Le Petit!

Hope you guys are having a great visit!

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

@T - Thanks for de-lurking, and I'm glad you're enjoying my blog! Have your 'petits' learned some French as well?

@Caramama - le Petit just figured out how to say 'blueberries,' which were initially 'raisins bleus [blue grapes]' then 'fraises bleues [blue strawberries].' I love his reasoning skills.