I have been correcting Sweet Bear for half a year and the other day she finally got it! I was going through the ususal drill of Hh, Hh like Hh-house, Hh-happy, Hh-horse, Hh-have. It is just like I had to do with Angel Girl and my mother did with me. The Hh sound is not easy even for English speaking children to learn. So, if you are French and reading this, don’t worry if you have trouble with the Hh sound, too. It is not a naturally easy sound.
After about 10 minutes of my going through all the English words beginning with the Hh sound that I could think of Sweet Bear looked at me and demanded, “Sweet Bear do it!” And, she said house instead of ouse and happy instead of appy and horse instead of orse. Petite Clown is a sponge for everything that her older sister (by one year only) does. She’s gotta do it, too. So, Petite Clown said, “happy house”, with a huge smile and laugh. She is such a cutie pie!
Mama was very content.
Later during the car ride Sweet Bear was having a discussion with Petite Clown because that is what they do now. It is still strange to hear these two talking in their special language. It is a combination of French and English and baby talk. But, let me assure you they understand each other perfectly and have big deep conversations together while riding in the car. Unfortunately, MINE and ME and MOI and Not you are the main choice of words.
During their conversation, I thought I heard Sweet Bear say H-attends instead of attends ( wait in English). Hmmm…maybe, I was hearing things. Then, I heard H-Angel (they were talking about their sister who just went back to the states) and H-arrete instead of arrete (stop in English). Ohhh, not good! Sweet Bear now thinks all words beginning with an H or any vowel need to have the Hh sound placed in front.
I understand where this is coming from. French do not pronounce h’s at the beginning of a word. I suppose my Sweet Bear thinks that this is what I was correcting. I didn’t even see that one coming!
I thought she wasn’t pronouncing the Hh in front of English words because it was too hard and she was simply having trouble with the h’s as Angel Girl had and as most American children do. I assumed (big mistake) that she was separating French and English in her mind now. She has been speaking with me in only English and with her father in only French for some time. I just thought she knew to leave the Hh sound off for French words and put it on for English words. I assumed she understood that it was for English words only when all my examples were only English words.
Now, how do I fix it? Poor kid! I think it will just work itself out. I am not going to worry about it and just put this down as a cute story to tell her later.
P.S. I have been trying to speak only in French with my husband the last few days. Last night, while I was chatting and he was correcting, Sweet Bear sat up from her laying down position on the couch. She was listening with great interest to Mama’s French. It was funny that she, at three, found my speaking in French so very, very interesting! Not to mention, I was more than a bit worried that she wasn’t considering correcting me too! She may want to get me back by correcting my French like I do her English!