My family’s adventures in bilingualism

We are a French family
. A mum, a dad and three girls. All born in France, we settled in Dublin nearly two years ago when our daughters were 3 months, 3 years and 6 years.
We decided to go on this adventure in order to learn English and broaden our horizons. We have always thought of bilingualism as a gift, a way to open our minds and a tool for new discoveries.

We all found our spot in this new world at our own pace. We have discovered that beyond the positive aspects of learning the language, bilingualism has provided us with a new window out of which we can observe our children and both our languages English and French have become a fundamental part of our family.
Language is often part of our daily conversations. We reflect on the meaning of phrases and metaphors, we think about how we choose words and we discuss pronunciation. We encourage and help each other.

Now that we live in Ireland our challenge is to keep a strong link with the French language while learning the language of our host country, in which our children live their lives every day. The new country, its language and its culture have become part of the children’s lives and of their identity.

We think it is important to maintain their spoken as well as their written French. Orally it is done through us, parents, the rest of the family, our circle of francophone friends, through songs, stories and films. We keep up their writing skills using books.
When it comes to English, we trust our environment, the school, their friends and mostly, we trust our girls.

Author: Charlotte Petit

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