Geo is a 4-year-old boy being raised bilingually in monocultural home.

Geo’s French Words

We have recently had to rethink our strategies for language learning with Geo. Although we don’t have an official diagnosis yet, his speech therapist believes that he is apraxic. We will be getting an official diagnosis as soon as possible, but it likely will tell us he has “apraxia of speech.”

We held off on getting Geo’s speech evaluated because his older sister Soleil had her own “language” for quite some time. She called herself “Ya-yes” forever and had a bunch of other words that were her own creations. For the most part we were and are able to understand Geo. We kept thinking he’d come out of it just like Soleil did. Hindsight’s always 20/20 and obviously now we wish we had acted sooner. He has created speech habits that now will have to be unlearned. We have a long road ahead of us, but we say: Bring it on!

When we had his IEP meeting, we were instructed to allow Geo to speak English. I can continue to speak to him in French, but he needs to respond in English and we need to repeat back to him what he said in English. So, that is what we’re doing for now, however, there are certain words that Geo simply prefers to say in French. They may not be pronounced perfectly, but he just naturally says them in French first. Here’s some of them:

Du lait, de l’eau (“Milk” & “Water” because of a silly song we have song for years)

Jolies lumières (“Pretty lights” because during the holiday season, and year round, whenever we are out driving and spot some pretty lights, we always mention them in French…even Daddy has picked up this one!

Poire (“Pear” because it’s one of Geo’s favorite fruits)

Do-do (“Night-night” because of the lullaby: “Dodo m’amour” that I sing every night)

Arrête (“Stop” because the tickle monster speaks French and stops tickling only when spoken to in French.)

Our multiliteracy adventure has taken a turn, but we still envision the same multiliterate goal for both of our children…we may just have more detours along the way.

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