Hi from a French in Indonesia Oct 28, 2018 22:07:41 GMT 9
Post by Christophe on Oct 28, 2018 22:07:41 GMT 9
I'm Christophe, a French citizen who has been living in Indonesia for a little more than 10 years. I married my Indonesian wife in 2010 after a few years there and we have used Indonesian language right from the beginning. I have good proficiency of spoken and written Indonesian, while my wife spoke no French and very little English when we met, and some basic French now.
Our first daughter saw the light of day in October 2011, followed three years later by our second daughter. I wish I had come across this website and forum at that time since I kind of thought back then that speaking French would come naturally to my daughters if I spoke French to them, underestimating the huge gap in exposure between French and Indonesian as well as the absence of need for them to speak French (since they heard me speaking Indonesian with their mother and everybody else in our environment from day 1).
The thing is that they hear French only when I speak specifically to them and that is the sole source of French language to them. It's 95% of Indonesian vs. 5% of French. As motivated as I was, when my kid got 1 y-o and more and started producing understandable words and communicating with the whole world but me...well, it started to be veeeery hard for me to stick to French...! It felt so great to be able to communicate with her but it had to be in Indonesian or I had to accept to be the only person in our whole environment not being able to easily communicate with her. I started to use Indonesian from time to time, what a joy to speak with my kid! And the vicious circle started.
Now they are 7 and 4. They speak fluent Indonesian and very very little French (it is actually hard to tell exactly how much since they never use it). No need to detail how terribly regretful I am now, not to have persevered with strict French at that crucial time. I feel I missed a huge thing. Now I'm trying to fix this by reverting to 100% French. The older one understands a good deal of basic sentences, the younger one fewer.
I am currently seriously wondering if it will be enough to actively stick to French from now on, read books with them, talk as much as I can, etc. I can do my best to increase the exposure to French but it will be harder to diversify the sources of French and to create the need for French for them. I am thus considering the option of putting a temporary end to our life here (that is, quitting my job and giving back our house) and moving to France for 1 or 2 years or the needed amount of time for them to learn fluent French (and the taste for cheese and saucisson ).
Nice to get to know you all and share with you.