Monday, October 04, 2010

Sloppy speech

Ask anyone in an OPOL family if they only speak their own language to their kids and they’ll assure you ‘Yes, absolutely and the kids only reply in one language too!’, but add in a quiet observer and you’ll find it’s a different story. When we have guests visiting, who are not bilingual in French and English, their confused faces reveal how much we mix languages, often unconsciously. We all have a tendency to ‘drop’ in the odd word from the other language as and when it suits us, or we have a word that is easier to say! My sister and her family came to stay from England recently and proved this point in the following dialogues (taken from video footage):
Me: ‘Hurry up and get your bombe for horse riding, Nina!’ (Cousin looks horrified that we are taking along a bomb with us to horse riding session, bombe being French for horse-riding hat)
Gabriel: ‘I want a glace!’ (Aunt passes him a glass of water, which he refuses with angry face because he wanted an ice-cream, which is a glace in French)
Me: ‘So, Marc is going to collège in September…’ (Aunt who looks confused because for her college is at age 16 and Marc is only 13, but in France secondary school is called collège)
Nina: ‘We get the car here and the chauffeur takes us to school every day.’ (Uncle wonders how we have a personal chauffeur when he thought the kids took school bus, turns out that the school bus in French is a car.)


Kid World Citizen said...

hehe- This post made me laugh! We do the same! The funniest is when we have my inlaws who only speak SPanish, and my parents who only speak English together. There is always a point where I turn to translate for someone, speaking in the wrong language and I don't realize while I wait for their answer:).

My Bilingual Babes said...

Hilarious, we have this same issue! Some very funny examples :-)