The BigGuy leveled up today

In French, that is.  We’ve been using Rosetta Stone and I honestly don’t know how long he’s actually been at it.  We’ve put it down in spurts.  But today, he told me he finished level 1–which is the equivalent of a year of high school French.

Suddenly I’m wondering why there’s not a lot more French-speaking going on in our house?

I mean, okay… I can no longer just open my mouth and speak.  True.  But if I were immersed in it again, I’m guessing it would come back quick enough.  And really, *I* could get on Rosetta Stone and join the two local groups that would give me opportunity to speak more frequently.  But I haven’t.

I think in my heart, I just think it would be a waste because I know I have to learn Spanish.  I can’t keep the Roman-based languages straight.  For some people, the similarities make it easy for them to speak all three of those languages (Spanish, French and Italian).  For me, it’s exactly what screws me up.  It’s the little differences that throw me.  Husbeau’s family is FROM Italy so I’ve been surrounded by Italian for 17 years.  For many of those years, I understood enough to be able to follow the conversation.  Now, I’m just lost in both languages.  And it makes me insane.  I used to meet people from France who thought I came from a French family and couldn’t believe I learned to speak so well and so fluently in a public American school.  I went on to use my French-speaking at my first job.

Gone.  So gone.

My French now consists of some child-oriented commands.  “Place-le dans la poubelle” (put it in the garbage) or “Nettoye-toi” (clean up)… the list is relatively long.  But it’s not conversational.

People ask me why I would teach my kids French and really, it’s because most of the educated and political classes of Africa speak French as the unifying language.  Where parents today are trying to teach their kids Mandarin because China has become a force, I feel that when my kids are adults, Africa could be such a force.  There are signs already of countries in Africa that have had ACTUAL democratic elections or truly weeded out the culture of bribery.  Not many, but enough to be hopeful.  And there are significant chunks of Southeast Asia where French is a common language as well.

On the flip, we live in America where the Hispanics are a significant portion of our population and I just think you should speak the language of the area you live in–at least functionally.  In the U.S., that means English and Spanish (as a country, we lack an official language).  Plus, Girly is Hispanic.  It would be nice to preserve as much of her heritage as possible.

Because I need more to do…

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