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20 August 2016


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Jacklynn Lantry

Your French is amazing! I remember Pascale Palun saying to you (in French) "Your French is amazing!" I LOVED listening to you speak French. I've been studying French since I was 13 and I still don't speak the language. My dream is to retire to France and stay at least a year and FINALLY learn to speak French. One more thing. I have heard many, many people say "My kids have no accent." It is never true...accept for your kids. They really don't have an accent-remarkable! They speak English like well-educated Americans:) Well done franco-american mama!


Corey, I think most people find accents charming. ;-) You were smart to raise Chelsea and Sacha speaking both languages. It is truly an asset.


I loved this post.


I have been studying French since high school -university and then again since 2009-I read and understand most-slang and idiomatic phrases not so much and break out in a sweat if I have to speak-will I ever get it...if you ever sell the book I'm would want to buy it because damn it I WILL READ and SPEAK French someday!


When I wanted to teach myself a little rudimentary French before a trip to Montréal, I checked out an old high school French I textbook and a cassette tape of French conversation for beginners from the public library. I already knew that the "r" and "t" on nouns ending in "-er" and ët" were silent, but couldn't BELIEVE that the "-ent" on the end of 3rd-person-plural verbs was also silent -- quelle choque!

One of the best ways to improve diction is to sing along with songs in the language you're trying to learn. In this era of Youtube and lyrics online, it's so much easier now to find songs you'd like to sing. (Bossa nova favorites helped my Portuguese accent greatly.)

Shelley Noble

Charming. The thing is, Corey, haven't you lived now longer in France than the US? So isn't it also you-your life now to speak it?!

Can't imagine how challenging it must have been to have to learn to speak French properly while teaching the kids to speak English properly.

How intelligent they are.

Can't imagine the love you and Yann must know for having to be in love without knowing each others' language. Extraordinary!


Thank you so much for this post! I have the same struggles only in Italian and minus children. My husband and I speak English together and it is hard to try to change that to Italian. I do feel like a different person when trying to speak Italian. I forget or don't know words so I feel slow and stupid. Sometimes I think I come across rude simply because I'm a bit awkward and quiet, which is not at all how I am in English. It is frustrating and it does take a lot of courage and grace to just try. You summed it up perfectly! I look forward to hearing the rest of the story. It is a weird, wonderful, frustrating, and sometimes maddening place to be 😀 So again, thanks!

French la Vie

That is good advise!

French la Vie

My children's English grew steadily, my French... oh la la. Yes next January I will have lived in France longer than I have in the States... that is a sobering thought.

French la Vie

Hi Stacy,
Where is Italy do you live? It took me forever to just let go and make a fool out of myself. And yes one's personality seems to take a back seat because it is hard to express... I like how you said that. I will finish the story ... Good luck and enjoy your new life in Italy.


My one regret in life is that I have not progressed beyond my very bad HS French!
My grandparents came to this country speaking French and insisted only English be spoken at home. While I understand they wanted ro embrace their new country, it's sad we didn't learn more French.

Jacklynn Lantry

G, Let's be "roomies in retirement, in France, lol! We'll both learn to speak French! j-

Sue J.

great post, Corey. And that book is enchanting.


Jacklynn YOU ARE ON!! I have never been so vexed by something in all my life as the French language-we can pool our resources buy a house and live off our wits while we are learning the language MOST BEAUTIFUL-if not confounding!!(love your reply)

Taste of France

My kid also grew up bilingual. But my husband has always insisted on speaking French, though his English is quite good. I also spoke French with him, but eventually got sick of losing arguments because he was correction my conjugaison. So I speak in English, and he speaks in French. Our kid speaks to me in English and to Papa in French. If a remark is made in French and I dare to reply, I get a reprimand, "I wasn't talking to YOU! I was talking to Papa!" School was a challenge--how to verify homework, especially those dang verbs? But I picked up more French.
I also carried suitcases of books in English, and read aloud right into the teens. I can read in French, sometimes I work in French, but it's tiring, and my kid feels the same way about English. It's a big effort to read.
One thing that bothered me in the early days was that because of my accent and my errors, I got treated like an idiot. Particularly by one dad on the PTA. But he eventually gave me more respect.


Being a second generation child of Norwegian immigrants, my life was filled with folks coming to our home who were "fresh from the old country" and though they spoke English, there were many Norwegian phrases and always the accent. The attitude of my grandparents was that their children must speak English, so my mother did not become fluent in Norwegian, only knew songs (such a great way to learn how to say words in the other language) and some phrases. Mom and I took classes in Norwegian when I was a teen and I have continued to learn more every year of my life, though surely I am not bi-lingual. I can sing all the songs for every holiday just as though I am from the "Old country" and can easily read Norwegian in news articles and letters. I try to pass some of this on to my children and grandchildren.
It is truly amazing how much you were able to achieve raising your children in a bi-lingual home. Your ability to succeed in making the journey a positive experience in the lives of both of your children is something to be truly proud of. The strong bond of love that has held you and Yann together on this journey speaks so much about the strength of family you both brought to your relationship. All of your stories are a delight to read and savor. There is just so much of goodness and truth in every experience you share with your readers. Merci, merci Corey.

Cynthia Rieth

Curious question - do you dream in English or French :) Hope you are having a glorious Sunday!


I saw an article not too long ago about how a person who is bilingual has different personalities in the different languages they speak. I have to find it and send it to you!

Many years ago when I first started coming to France, I had a very very brief love affair with a french guy who did not speak any english, and my french was rather rudimentary. It was ooola-la romantic until I realized what a real JERK his was. You're lucky to have understood Yann's true nature all along.

And I echo the comments about singing along with French songs. Singing in French (and having my pronunciation minutely corrected by a real task-master) is why I can (usually) pronounce French words properly. Open vs closed vowels can change a word completely, and has gotten me into trouble one or twice.



Anne Woodyard (@MusicandMarkets)

What a lovely and interesting story! And I love the book!
Hugs til next time-

French la Vie

What a great idea!!

French la Vie

Both. Which seems funny.


Correction: I already knew that the "r" and "t" on words ending in "-er" and "et" were silent...


Though your French took a back seat, you gave your children an amazing gift. 👊🏼
I wish I could say foreign languages come easy to me, but it doesn't. Though I have taken different Spanish classes over the years, I've learn the most workings the fields with the crews. And like your street French, it can be colorful. But I'm so lucky.


I live in northeastern Italy, near Padova, not far from Venice. I try to be a sincere "me" as much as I can but man that's hard when you don't have the words! 🙂 looking forward to your story and feel hopeful one day I'll get better 🤗


What charming stories about teaching your bi-lingual kids and learning French yourself. I don't know what chapon rouge is. Red capers?

Rebecca from the pacific northwest

Oh how I love all these illustrations! (And your reminiscences about learning/not learning French.)

I grew up with a 12-book set of childrens stories/poems that my parents invested quite a lot in, for their income at the time. All three of us girls relished the books, and they certainly informed my taste thereafter. The illustrations are much like these.

I'm also interested to note some syllable marks in the word usages that indicate a last syllable where i wouldn't have expected one to be pronounced -- le-gu-mes and glis-sa-de for example.


When our girls were young, we had many foreign teenagers live with us while in this country studying English. It was very helpful to them to read children's books to our children. Our kids loved it, too. What a wonderful book you found!

Franca Bollo

So, "Correction" is French for "child abuse"? Franca's being cranky. The idea of large people picking on those half their size does that to her. Comment dit-on "bully" en français?

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