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Know the language

Posted: January 30, 2010 3:09 p.m.
Updated: January 31, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
Thank you, Bob Kellar, for telling the truth.

When my granddaughter was living with her parents in my house, she went to the school next to us. We surely did not tell the principal we had two languages spoken in our home.

Why? Because our granddaughter would have had to be taught English as an ESL pupil. We didn't want that happening. To this day we have another granddaughter who is, at three years old, perfectly bilingual.

We are not going to tell the school that she speaks two languages. She is very good in the English language. She is going to learn how to write, read and understand the American language first at school.

It is so funny to have a "multi" language child at home. For every new word she learns in American, we right away tell her: "In French, we say ‘____.' Repeat." She does repeat. She watches American videos and ones in French. The one in French is for ages nine and up. She just catches the words.

As a family from France, we all speak, read and write English. Why? Because we have seen in France how our children were affected at school by the children who did not speak French.

I remember every evening I taught my kids how to read and write French for them to be fluent as soon as possible, because otherwise they would have had to follow the minority in their classes which meant the minority of children not speaking French was slowing down the other kids.

I also remember that I taught French to other kids. It was volunteered, but I made a lot of friends that way and it was a lot of fun.

And guess what? The teachers were calling me names at the PTA meetings as well as telling my kids I was stupid. Yes, stupid.

I went on in my life, regarding the education of my kids, and both of them were second in their classes. I did not care that they were learning more than what was taught at school, I wanted them to be fluent in French.

I did a good job and now that I have more grandkids I will teach them French first because that is what a grandma is for. I know that with TV, radio, songs, books and places they are going to be fluent in American language.

I find it very sad that more and more in our country or other counties that we have to be bilingual to find a job. I am bilingual and would like to help a French person who does not speak American.

If people think we cannot discriminate in the U.S., I can tell you that it happens more often than it should. The supervisors of some departments in the county, for example, will tell you we need people speaking Spanish.

It does not seem right, does it? I stopped doing volunteer work at a place that I had chosen to help people. I did not speak Spanish at all and could not help. I could help with my computer skills, but that was not what I wanted to do.

My grandkids are certainly going to speak Spanish, and if I am still alive I will tell them to also learn Chinese. In France kids learn at least three languages and do not stop after the first semester.

If teachers or principals want to know how my kids learned to be bilingual, I can tell them that it was with principles and it worked.

I also have told my kids to protect their native language and expose their kids to it. Meanwhile, everybody should learn everyday more vocabulary from the Webster dictionary, because there is in it the inheritance of the first French immigrants in the U.S.

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