Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fun with Language Learning

Our kids have been so fun to observe as they begin experimenting with the Spanish language. Isabel, thanks to her semester in Chilean school, has really embraced the language and likes to use it as much as she can. She is quick to proudly announce that SHE understands Spanish, whenever someone asks whether any of the children do!

Her current favorites are singing “Un elefante se balanceaba” and “Por eso hay que cantar aleluya” – two songs from her Kindergarten graduation. She also likes to exclaim “¡Ya po!” which is just good ‘ol Chilean slang that means something like “Come on already!” She occasionally uses the saying “¡Qué fome!” which according to her, she learned at school this year because her cousin would say it whenever the teacher placed schoolwork in front of him. (“¡Qué fome!” means “How boring!” or “What a pain!” – we got a kick out of that story!)

Owen has also been surprising us with his language acquisition. There is a song that I sing to him almost every night, which says “Mommy loves you, Daddy loves you” etc. and one evening he said he wanted to sing it to me. Only instead of singing it the way I do, he sang “Mommy quiero, Mommy quiero”“quiero” being a word used for love here in Chile!

He also had us laughing at mealtime last week, when Daddy had to ask him repeatedly to stop playing with his plate. Since he wasn’t exactly obeying right away, Pedro reached over and grabbed the plate. Owen tried to pull it away, loudly exclaiming “Oye! OYE!!” which basically means “Hey!” or “Hey you!”

And then yesterday he came into the kitchen on Eva’s heels, wanting a snack. She had gotten a small bag of potato chips, so I asked him if he wanted those. No, he said, he wanted “papas fritas!” I answered, “Right, you want potato chips!” but he insisted, “No! I want papas fritas!” (“Papas fritas” ARE potato chips!) The funny thing is that after conferring with Pedro, we realized neither of us had taught him that word so we don’t know where he learned it!


Mindy said...

Love it! Cultural assimilation just happens naturally, I guess! What fun, the things "out of the mouths of babes," eh?

Merry Christmas (belated)!

Deborah said...

Hahahaha! Very nice...I'm JEALOUS! :)