• Speaking in tongues

    Article by Ben Faccini

    In a world that converses only in English, we’ll talk only of banal things: that’s why I want my children to be bilingual.

    My greatest fear growing up in the wilds of the French countryside, south of the Loire Valley, was that my English mother would speak to me in her native tongue and do so loudly. I could just about forgive her wilting straw hats and translucent dresses – when the phalanx of local mothers at the school gates wore wipeable smocks spattered with mud, wine or tomato juice depending on the season – but I would wince when she used English outside the home. On the way back from school, along the vineyard tracks, even with my peers well out of earshot, I felt I could hear my mother’s cut-glass English ricocheting off the rocks.

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