Hello Language learners! Many thanks to Kristin for inviting me as a guest blogger today! I’m so impressed that many of you are teaching your kids to speak a second langauge at home. What a gift you are giving your children! To grow up exposed to (speaking!) two languages… Wow. I sure wish I had been given that opportunity when I was little.
Like you, I’m trying to help my kids grow up to be bilingual and multi-cultural. I am lucky to live very close to a terrific, not-for-profit French immersion elementary school. My kids (who are 5 and 7) speak French better than I do. We love to travel and to learn about other cultures. And we’d like to someday move back to Europe for a few years.
Nonetheless, I often get asked, “Why French?” My standard answer used to be “Because I really want to live in Paris and each warm chocolate croissants everyday.” But people seemed to want a more serious response. So here are a few reasons I’ve come up with:
Being bilingual is good for your brain. You have probably heard that being bilingual boosts your brainpower and that being bilingual may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. But to me, the benefits of a bilingual, multi-cultural education are obvious, and making the decision to raise my kids in such an environment was a no-brainer.
Endless resources. French is the most widely taught language after English, so there are many resources available to help you learn. No matter what level you are, or where you live in the world, you can learn to speak French.
French is the language of love, cuisine, culture, art and fashion. It’s fun to learn and to imitate; and you can sound really fancy when you order food at a French restaurant!
French is an official language of the International Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and The Olympics. Over 200 million people in the world speak French and it's spoken in over 40 countries.
“But wouldn’t Chinese or Spanish be more practical?”
I have nothing against any other language or culture. Would another language be more practical? I don’t know. Maybe? Maybe when my daughter is 35 she’ll tell me that her career would be more successful if only she spoke Chinese. But I’m not making a career decision for my child. I’m instilling in her a love of learning.
I love learning French. I love Paris. And I love chocolate croissants. Isn’t that reason enough?
p.s. If you are interested in spending a few months in France, please contact me! My new business venture is to help people plan a sejour - a 2-3 month stay in France.
Merci tout le monde!