Finny wrote:In Spanish, I'd personally like to smooth out some lingering grammatical errors. Watching some movies or reading some books would be nice too, but we'll see; all my evening language time goes to French since that's by far the weaker language. Besides that, continuing to increase my vocabulary and knowledge of idiomatic expressions would be nice.
In French, I'd like to get to C1 in speaking and listening. I'd estimate I'm at B1 speaking, B2/C1 listening, and C1 reading, but getting to a level where I can say pretty much anything I want in French (the way I can in Spanish) will be what really determines how well I teach the kids French, so that's the goal. To get there, I'll keep reading, listening to the radio, and watching series (currently Les Enquêtes de Vera, Tout Compte Fait, and Les Carnets de Julie...planning on starting Commissaire Magellan, Mongeville, and maybe Fait Pas Ci, Fait Pas Ca after Vera).
With the kids, I'd like to keep strengthening both languages by continuing to do everything we're already doing: speaking, reading, listening to the radio, watching cooking shows, etc. Right now the rotation is Spanish Mondays through Thursdays and French Fridays through Sundays. I might modify that if I feel they need more of one or the other. I'd also like to find more opportunities to place the kids in environments where the languages are used. There's a Spanish storytime that takes place a few times a month, but we haven't gone since last summer, so maybe revisiting that this summer. Similarly, there are French movie nights in Chicago in the summer and similar events, and I'd like us to go to at least one of those so the kids can see and hear people besides themselves and folks on TV / radio using French. But we'll see. My daughter learned Spanish with minimal exposure to Spanish-speaking people in daily life, so I know the same is easily doable in French; the determining factor, as I noted above, is my proficiency in the language, so that's what I need to work on.
- It's gotten better, although it's hard to tell right now because, being summer, the only people I tend to speak Spanish with are my kids. The school year went fine though, and when school starts again in a month, Spanish will get turbocharged again. We've been listening to a lot of salsa this summer (from http://tunein.com/radio/181FM-Salsa-s90501/
), which has been fun. Didn't watch any movies, and have only read kid books. I think the language is stable. During the school year, I speak Spanish 5x a week with several adults and up to 40 kids and 4x a week at home with 2 kids (mine). During the summer, it's 4x a week at home with 2 kids, so it's naturally downshifted a bit. "Study" is nonexistent; I just use the language either professionally or personally, and now and then go on reggaeton binges (typically during the school year).French
- I'd say I'm at B1/B2 speaking, C1 listening / reading. My speaking has definitely gotten more fluid, and it's still almost 100% with my kids; I had one conversation with a French-speaking adult at work and have spoken to other kids a couple of times, but it's still pretty much completely with my kids. I've slowly been reading Hunger Games (that's the French title) and am in book 3; I've just been going slowly due to a number of other commitments. Study is composed 99% of radio (99% of which is from http://tunein.com/radio/RMC-1031-s14896/
), talking to kids, reading to the kids, and reading to myself. Very rarely, I'll put on Les Carnets de Julie; I've really not been in the mood for TV since January. I stopped watching Vera as part of that TV dropout and never moved on to other shows. I have no current plans to do anything besides what I'm already doing. Oh, and I've been learning to sing and play some comptines lately on the guitar--so far, Il etait un petit navire, Meunier tu dors, and Fait dodo colas mon petit frere (all from here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT-tk9c8GVM
). I decided it was time to learn some songs besides those from the Dora book. Kids have been thrilled...more on that below.Kids
- The rotation remains unchanged. They continue to be trilingual. On French days, DD speaks nearly exclusively French to me aside from when asking how to say this or that. On Spanish days, it's the same but in Spanish. DS started trying to use a lot of English with me all of a sudden; cracked down on that and he's back to using the daily language for the most part. His sentences have gotten a lot longer, as has his ability to repeat things either DD is saying or that I'm telling him to say. I'd just like to get them more opportunities to use and hear the languages from people besides each other, me, and media. We went to some bilingual Es/En storytimes spring and summer, but they were very English heavy, which always annoyed me. We ran into a Spanish-speaking neighbor at the park one day, and DD spent a good while playing with her daughter, which was great.
We're going to the Chicago Bastille Day celebration this Friday, which will be the first time the kids hear in-person French from someone besides themselves or me, so I'm really looking forward to that. The kids have pretty much stopped reading this summer, which bothers me a bit, but there've been a lot of changes--most significantly, we got a dog, which, while great, has changed our dynamics a lot and has put ever-larger demands on my mental space (and theirs, I'm sure). We still read bedtime stories and that means the kids generally read at least one book in Es and Fr 4x a week no matter what. I figure (and my wife says) it's cyclical, and they'll get back into wanting to read more over time. As noted above, we've started watching some musical videos, and they've been enthralled by them. I've also enjoyed them, as music is one of my hobbies, and I've learned several songs from the set with plans to learn many more.Summary
- So to sum it up, Spanish is stable, although I always feel a bit rusty whenever I run into a phrase I can't remember--rallador and caracol have been two from this week. French continues to grow--although I still feel tongue-tied at times, the truth is I'm far more confident in the grammar than I was before, which means I'm transitioning into the point where vocab is all that's limiting me, which probably means I'm transitioning into B2/C1 speaking. And the kids are learning very, very well. Their comprehension continues to be top notch, and I find myself correcting grammar less than I did some months ago (although many would suggest not correcting at all, since some research suggests kids don't learn from it). I plan to just keep on keeping on. The key for French is for me to spend more time reading, so I need to do that more and stop everything else I'm interested in--astronomy, bird-watching, plane-spotting, musical instruments, blogging, etc etc. These things, by the way, are a big part of why I've been here much less. Oh, and the dog.
Keep going everyone. The time's going to pass no matter what we do with it, so we might as well learn a language (or a dozen) along the way.