Saturday, 31 May 2008

uh oh...

Discussing what bowl to have breakfast in:

Laniña: Yeh, a verde bowl. An in Spanish is GREEN!!

ummm... nope, sorry - other way round! Shame, she seemed so pleased with herself...

Friday, 23 May 2008

Hide and Speak!

Hide and speak Spanish (humph, can't believe they've no picture!)

So, Laniña generally gets me to read something in Spanish these evenings as a bedtime story (that said, I did have to read Peppa Pig in English last night - she's only three; she's allowed to be fickle! And I'm not prepared to pretend that I can't speak English when I clearly can!)

But there's one book in particular that she often asks for, and she just calls it "Español" This book is Hide and Speak Spanish. It has a nice illustration and simple sentences on the left; on the right are boxes with specific pictures of individual items from the large picture, alongside other boxes with the names of those items. There are also two flaps so you can cover up either the words or the pics. We don´t do that, though.

I just read the sentences and point at the big picture. Then we go down the list of items on the left and I say the words. Laniña repeats what I say. She really seems to enjoy it. What is interesting is that when I say "El mar" she repeats "mar". If the word is "La calle", she repeats "calle". "La cama" becomes "cama". You get the idea. She leaves out the definite article, the the-word, if you know what I mean.

What is cool about this, is that it means she has sort of figured out that el and la are separate words, and can therefore be left off, sometimes. I mean, when I say "La cama" it actually sounds like one word - lacama. Therefore, she should repeat the whole sound - but she has somehow spotted the pattern of els and las and knows that there´s comething special about them.

Another interesting thing happened the other night, but I´m going to keep you in suspense for now...

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Peterson and the missing blog post...

First, the missing blog post: during one of those periods when I haven't been posting very much, I experimented a bit with making this blog a podcast and recorded a couple of very interesting (if I do say so myself) pieces before running into a couple of difficulties. I've now sort of figured out how to resolve these, but only by moving the whole thing away from blogger or by paying for a service to host all the media files. Anyway, I haven't got round to either yet and instead had intended to simply type up what I had recorded.

Ho hum... still waiting...

Well, I'm gonna summarise one for you now. Hooray! Because it now has a new development. Great.

Basically, it was about how, just before Christmas, Laniña finally met a real Spanish-speaker. I mean she had met real Spaniards before, but hadn´t really been old enough to register it. So he naturally spoke to her in Spanish, having heard me talking in Spanish. Well, Laniña like TOTALLY freaked out. Somewhere between outrage and terror. I mean she has been exposed to plenty of Spanish on DVDs and the like, so one might have assumed she´d be pretty cool with the idea that other people apart from her and her dad speak Spanish, but no - the real thing was too much for her!

Didn´t really bode well for the future, eh? But we struggled on anyway.

And then Peterson came to visit yesterday. Peterson Toscano. You can google him, he´s lovely. The important thing about him from our point of view here, though, is that Peterson speaks very good Spanish. And Laniña hasn´t minded at all. In fact, she seems to have really rather enjoyed it. In fact she said, "I love Peterson!"

So, she now has come more to terms with the idea of Spanish being a real external language and is now happy with the idea that it´s something other people do too, not just something special between her and her dad.

Cool. It´s nice to feel we´re making progress!

Saturday, 17 May 2008


OK, hands up if you remember Dogtanian?? If you've been paying close attention, you'll notice that my video bar (above) has changed recently, and now features highlights from that masterpiece of animation from my childhood! In Spanish!! Did you know that it was made in Spain? That's why the English lip-synching was so dodgy - the cartoons are really speaking Spanish!!

The original name of the show was Dartacan y los tres Mosqueperros. Dartacan is a word-play which works in much the same way as Dogtanian. So, I downloaded the whole series (in Spanish, of course), looking forward to re-living part of my childhood with my daughter... but she doesn't really care for it I'm afraid.

Ho hum, I guess they all have their own personalities after all. Or maybe she's just a bit young yet. Yes, I'll try again when she's older!

This is the link to the DVD, but as far as I can tell it's only in English, which is why I downloaded it (shhh... don't tell anyone!):

Monday, 12 May 2008

Pretty car!

No, she didn't say that Not really.

Laniña was in the supermarket car park with her mother a couple of days ago and they saw a car which was a truly horrific shade of orange.

"Look at that car!" said mother, "What colour is that?"
"s orange" said Laniña. Clever girl.
"And what colour is our car?"
"Silver. An in Spanish is plata"

Well, goodness me. It is, too! Clever girl, indeed! I did say she was becoming more aware of there being more than one language, didn't I?!

Totally cheered me up, it did.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Go Diego Go!

Diego is Dora's cousin - both are young bilingual adventurers from the Nick Jr. channel. Diego is aimed at an older (and more male) audience than Dora, but the activities are just as interactive and there is a current of Spanish running throughout - Laniña loves all the stuff about animals, too! (Diego is an Animal Rescuer, and all the episodes have an animal theme)

It is also possible to import the dvds from America and on those ones have an alternative Spanish soundtrack, but with activities to learn English! I found the latin-american Spanish quite grating to be honest - I usually like it, but the command forms were all very formal even though it´s a kids show - but Laniña loved it!

I like comiendo Krispies!

Laniña has funny wee moods. She loves Go Diego Go! and we watch it a lot on dvd - in English, because those dvd´s don´t have Spanish on them. But sometimes she changes the language herself and I have often caught her really enjoying listening to French or Danish. Even when there is a Spanish soundtrack on a dvd, she still changes it to e.g. Catalán or, I dunno, Hebrew or something. I have decided not to worry about this; she has shown increasing awareness of Spanish and English actually being two different languages that other people speak and I think she enjoys experimenting with listening to other languages too - it´s good to learn early that we live in a very multilingual world! She has also been experimenting with making up her own language and talking blah-pluh nonsense in roleplaying with her toys, and sometimes with us, too. She thinks it´s funny, but really I think she was experimenting to see if made-up words might somehow mean something. It´s good that she´s experimenting with concepts of language.

We got her a doll´s house last weekend - she didn´t really know what to do with it, so I acted out wee stories to Spanish commentary as I moved the figures from room to room. She would watch me and then role play what she´d seen - great fun!

She still mixes languages a good bit in talking to me, but hardly ever mixes Spanish with English in talking to her mother. Sometimes she has a long hesitation before she can think of a word and I have to supply it for her:

¿Dónde hiciste el pic-nic? (Where did you have the pic-nic?)
Inna... Inna... um...
¿En el salón o en el jardín? (In the living room or in the garden?)
In a jardín!!