Aug 102011
 

This article is about younger children. If you have teenagers I imagine you could simply get them to take a French class somehow. There are classes for younger children (aged 1 1/2 to 4, for example). Your local Alliance Fran├žaise might be a good place to look for these classes. If you happen upon their main website and it says there is no chapter near you, don’t believe it until you’ve actually searched for one in your specific area – their website is currently somewhat out of date.

Besides giving lessons directly you can expose young children to other languages by showing them foreign language cartoons. Of course, there’s Madeline, which is in English and mixes in French words here and there, but that’s really geared towards older kids. As it turns out, some popular cartoons available in the states also have French soundtracks. Dora the Explorer is the best example. Searching for “Dora French” on amazon.com returns a lot of results. Just make sure to check the details of the DVD to assure it actually does have a French soundtrack. If they’re going to be watching cartoons when they’re so young, they might as well learn something along the way.

Another option is ordering DVDs (or books) directly from France. This does require a multi-region DVD player (sometimes called a region free DVD player), however. It might sound complicated, but in reality they are easily available through amazon.com as well. Searching amazon for “multi region dvd player” returns 431 results as of this writing. Read the reviews before you buy. If you’re worried and want to do more research, you can try to verify that the DVD player itself will convert the signal to NTSC (used in the US) from PAL (used in Europe).

To order DVDs directly from France simply visit www.amazon.fr. Once there you can choose DVDs and narrow the results by age. I suggest Didou for a child aged 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 and Bali for a child aged 2 to 3 1/2.