Living France - - Insight -

Ten-year-old Jack Marks-Ter­rey moved to France when he was one and a half and has Bri­tish par­ents.

“I re­mem­ber start­ing school and not be­ing able to un­der­stand or speak French, but I started to un­der­stand sim­ple things that were be­ing re­peated ev­ery day very quickly. It took longer to learn to speak French and I re­mem­ber peo­ple not un­der­stand­ing me. Some­times it would make me a bit sad, but by the time I was old enough to make proper friends I could speak French well enough, so it didn’t re­ally bother me.

Some­times know­ing how to pro­nounce words in the two lan­guages can be dif­fi­cult – for ex­am­ple, I used to get con­fused with the word ‘shark’ and the French trans­la­tion ‘ re­quin’. I would pro­nounce ‘shark’ with a French ac­cent and then say ‘rec-win’ as it would be pro­nounced in English.

Chil­dren have to work hard to learn both lan­guages, but peo­ple don’t no­tice it. I think it’s eas­ier to learn an­other lan­guage the younger you are, be­cause you can start with the sim­pler stuff and then build up to the dif­fi­cult gram­mar as you get older.

All the hard work is worth it. Learn­ing dif­fer­ent lan­guages is fun and I feel very proud that I can speak English, French and Oc­c­i­tan, which I learn at school. Now it doesn’t bother me if I get mis­un­der­stood in Oc­c­i­tan – my friends cor­rect me and I work hard to do the best I can.”


“You have to be a good learner and lis­ten to what peo­ple say, and you need to have sup­port­ive par­ents and teach­ers around you.”

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