Friday, December 12, 2008

Something is going on...

In the last few weeks some major shift has occurred in my kids' use of languages: after returning to a certain strictness with OPOL, Zeno's habit of mixing has been restrained and he is now more aware of what-word-belongs-to-what-language. It's amazing how it only took a few weeks to rectify the situation. He still mixes certain items: if he's saying a negative sentence, he would use the French "pas" even if he's speaking in Italian ("Pas dormire, io! Pas cadere, io!"). But overall, there has been a major improvement.

On the other hand Milo is suddenly doing what I've been reading in most manuals and books on multilingualism, that is....starting to speak French at all times! It began in the afternoon when I would pick him up from school, and I have been tolerating it, knowing that MTKs often have a better time relaying what happened in school in the school/environment language. But now it is systematic, he speaks French all the time at home! I asked him gently why, and he said it's easier for him. Luckily we're soon off to Italy for the holidays, and that should reinject his motivation to keep Italian and Dutch up and running!


giovanni said...

What is now the language he feels most at ease with? Italian? Or French?

Do you think he needs one "mother" tongue, or will he be able to manage two? Does he not need one language that he speaks and writes "perfectly"?

I have one friend who says he is fluent both in Spanish and English (Ariel Dorfman), but I think he is the exception. My other multilingual friends do not speak and write "perfectly" the languages in which they are fluent.

Language also gives you an identity. Do two languages give you a double identity?

I have never read anything (besides your blog) about these issues and I wonder what you and other readers have to say about them.

Un abbraccio

Clo said...

I think he feels just at ease in Italian as in French, but his French is now progressing faster thanks to the schol and I don t always have enough information to provide him with the equivalent Italian vocabulary. In terms of identity, it is one of my biggest curiosities and I am preparing another post on the topic....

letizia said...


scrivo questo commento non perche' sia pubblicato, ma per contattarti (non ho trovato altro modo sul tuo blog...).
Sono una mamma, ho vissuto molto all'estero e poi sono tornata in italia, dove vivo col mio bimbo di 15 mesi che sto crescendo bilingue, in inglese.
Non trovando i mezzi per fare dell'inglese, o di qualunque altra lingua, uno strumento sociale, ho pensato di inventarmeli, creando dei Playgroups.

Questo e' il mio blog:, attraverso il quale voglio sia diffondere informazioni e esperienze sul bilinguismo che creare interesse per i Playgroups come strumento per imparare e divertirsi. Scrivo in italiano perche' credo sia la lingua che accomuna tutti i bilingui che vivono in italia.
Mi farebbe molto piacere avere una tua opinione da esperta!

ah, ho anche un'email:

Ti ringrazio.


SmE said...


What books do you recommend? I am pregnant my DH is French (from Paris also) I am American and we live in the US. We want our child to be bilingual as his/her grandparents do not speak English. I have looked on but i am not sure which books are recommended.

Thanks for your help!

Clo said...

Letizia, thanks for your contact, I will email you soon.

Sme, I will post soon on books that can be helpful in the "preparatory" phase, but there are great chances that your kid will grow up perfeclty bilingual! and that you will learn French with him/her as well! Best of luck to you!