For nearly twenty five years I have lived in France. I am married to a French man, and we have two children who were born and raised here. The only language I have even spoken to our children is English, though everywhere around them the language is and has been French. We did not have a TV, nor listen to the radio or have French magazines come into our home as a way to encourage the hope that our children would be bi lingual.
Just because parents speak two languages, does not mean
their children will be bi lingual. I know because my parents
spoke Portugese and the only words in Portugese I know are:
kitchen drawer and
how to count to ten.
Handy words, but not enough to have a conversation. Being bi lingual doesn't just happen, it is hard work.
Don't even ask how many times I would say around the house to my children, "ENGLISH! I want to hear you speaking ENGLISH!
My French suffered, but their English was mastered.
Chelsea is not a French name, Sacha is. In France when Chelsea says her name, guys often think it is a great pick up line, as the famous soccer team from England is called "Chelsea". When Sacha says his name in the States, people often think he has a girl's name, or tell him their dog was named Sacha. Corey, my name, when said in French comes out as "Core-HAY", I really don't like it. So I say my name is "Korea", because the French pronounce Korea more like Corey.
When living in a foreign country you must know how to plant your roots, now how to survive, and have a trick or ten up your sleeve just in case you need a helping hand.
Chelsea and Sacha speak English and French without an accent. Though they can add the accents easily. Especially when needed. Years ago when they were mere wee ones in car seats, I was pulled at a random check point by the police. On seeing the police approaching our car, I turned around to the wee ones in the back seat and said, "Do NOT SPEAK a WORD in FRENCH, NOT a Word or the police will take both of you with him."
They sat motionless with fear (Bad mother move, we all have one or two memories as such, because who is perfect anyway.)
I spoke to the policeman in English, pretending not to understand a word he said, and was allowed to drive away without question or search.
Fast forward to 2012... While in the States this summer, Chelsea and two of her French childhood friends who flew over to visit her, toured the West Coast.
In L.A. a policeman pulled her over, Chelsea leaned over to her friends and said, "Don't say a SINGLE word, let me do the talking, or you'll be walking home."
From that moment on she spoke with a THICK French Accent, pretending to barely understand what policeman was asking her.
The moral of the story: It is better than saying, "Dry Fart."