MOVED TO FRANCE AS A TODDLER
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.”