The joys and benefits of bilingualism

Our children were 12, 10 and seven when we moved from Somerset to their mother’s country, Italy, last summer. Until then, they had always lived in England and their English was what you would expect: the odd spelling mistake, but otherwise fluent and full of pre-teen playground slang.

Now, in Parma, barely a day goes by when they don’t inadvertently say something odd: “Mum, I’m eshing [going out]”; “Can we eat pesh? [fish]”; “I’ve scritten [written] to Grandpa”; “Can you accorten [shorten] my trousers?”; “Have you chiused [closed] the door?”

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