BORN IN FRANCE
Four-year-old Hugo Marcellin has a British mum and a French dad. He was born in France and is learning French and English simultaneously. Mum, Fran Marcellin explains how Hugo has dealt with the experience:
“Although Hugo goes to maternelle with mostly Frenchonly-speaking peers from French families, he doesn’t seem to struggle or have a problem with his different set-up.
From the start we had a rule that I would speak English with him and Philippe, my husband, would speak French. This is how it works most of the time, but sometimes I find myself speaking or reading to him in French and Philippe ends up speaking or reading to him in English.
I worried before – and still do to a certain extent – that at school he will not always be completely understood as he sometimes mixes English and French into a sentence, creating a kind of Franglais. This is something that we also do from time to time as we use certain words in a particular language that best fit what we’re trying to say or those which Hugo understands better.
Currently Hugo speaks both languages to the same level. Going forward I want to make sure he has the same reading and writing level in English as he does in French, so we will talk to his teachers this year and work out a plan to fit in with his schooling.”
“Find other sources of the second language, so it’s not just one parent the child is hearing all the time. Television, audio books, bilingual games, nursery rhymes and certain kids’ channels on You Tube, such as Super Simple Songs, are a fun way to improve Hugo’s English. Netflix is useful too as Hugo can watch a good selection of programmes with either English or French audio, meaning he becomes familiar with the same story in both languages.”
Fran and Philippe Marcellin with their children: Hugo, Clothide and Sidonie