Publication Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Alvino Fantini


This is a personal paper in which I discuss my family’s acquisition of French during a two year sabbatical stay in Brussels, Belgium from 1979 to 1981. I discuss the factors influencing our decision to learn French, our respective modes of acquisition, our rates and degrees of proficiency, and then how that second language fared upon our subsequent return to the United States. I also offer a comparison between child and adult second language acquisition based upon our experience as well as discuss certain relevant psycho/social intra-familial dynamics which came into play while there as a result of our individual language prowess – or lack of it.

I share our experience involving language loss and/or retention faced upon our subsequent return to Belgium after spending 9 months in the United States and discuss the factors influencing this language retention and/or loss.

My conclusion offers some thoughts for incorporating the knowledge gleaned from this learning experience with an eye towards hopefully making more positive and effective the teaching of language in the classroom.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research