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Bilingual child: testimony of Ludmilla, 32 years old

Testimony of Ludmilla, 32, is Russian. She is the mother of Sacha, 6 years old; and Tanya, 4, who speak Russian and French ...

Are your children bilingual?

I do not know if I can say that. Alexander and Tanya fully understand everything I tell them. Last year, Alexandre went to spend a holiday with my parents in St. Petersburg. Of course, I would like my first child to become bilingual, then my second ... When Alexander returned from Russia, he spoke perfectly. I came to the conclusion that in conditions where he had no choice but to speak Russian, he did it and rather well.
Meanwhile, he spent the holidays of All Saints with my in-laws and since he refuses to say a single word in Russian and when I speak to him, he answers me that he does not understand ...

Are you the only one to talk to them Russian in the family?

Yes. I have two Russian friends. Only one has a baby. We see each other from time to time, but often with family and we speak French. I try to create a Russian environment by singing to my children songs that I heard when I was little. With the Internet it's pretty easy to find nursery rhymes. I tell them stories in my mother tongue. It must be admitted that it is a bit difficult to teach them Russian.
The father is French, the school is French, we live in France ... The opportunity to talk to them Russian is only found in my daily activities with them. As soon as Dad is here, I speak French so as not to exclude him.

Do you meet with reticence in general ?

Yes, and that's what is amazing ... When I was little, my great aunt told me that her own mother taught French in some Russian families. At the time, speaking an additional language was a plus in Russia. Today, I notice the astonished look of some people when I talk to my children. As if speaking a language other than French was an eccentricity.
The middle-class teacher of my child had even warned me of the "risks" of mixing languages, and the importance of waiting before talking to him anything other than French. This makes my children sometimes embarrassed when I speak Russian on the bus. To avoid embarrassing them, I speak French at these times, with the impression of betraying me ... It's not easy.

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