In an interview with NBC’s Bob Costas, Canadian skater Joannie Rochette spoke about her mother’s impact on her life. When asked how she started to learn English in the Canadian province of Quebec, at a time when very few from the area were bilingual, Rochette said that got her start by watching English language TV.
Rochette’s parents, who spoke only French, felt that learning another language would be a vital skill to Joannie, allowing her to eventually live and work outside of Quebec. Doing the best they could with the resources they had, Rochette’s parents thought that she could get started by watching the television. Which show did Joannie watch? Scooby Doo!
At first, Rochette didn’t understand much, but the more she watched, and listened, she began to grasp vocabulary, accent, syntax (word order) all from simply watching English language cartoons. This gave her a good base of knowledge which became useful to her as she started school, where English classes were available.
Little did Joannie’s parents know, she would become an Olympic medalist in the 2010 Winter Olympics where she would use her second language skills in a multitude of interviews and commercials from endorsements!
Want to get your child started on the road to multilingualism? See my previous post for tips on getting started!