Monday, 29 September 2008

Mummy's silly!

Well sometimes Laniña uses her Spanish in very particular ways. Being a very bad father, I have taught her how to use computer games, which she quite enjoys. She only does this with me. Now the Spanish word juego is for any type of game, but Laniña now uses juego like this: "I wanna do a juego" meaning that she wants to play a computer game. I think there´s a word in linguistics for this; when a word with a broad meaning is adapted to mean something specific.

Anyway, that´s not very funny in itself. What´s funny is that the word juego has now sort of entered our family dialect to mean computer game, even if speaking English. BUT - Spanish Js are kinda hard to say. So when Laniña´s mother said, "You can have a (j)uego after your dinner," Laniña´s response was:

"Ha ha ha, Mummy´s silly! ´S not uego - it´s Juego!!"

Oh dear, pronunciation corrected by three-and-a-half year old... Still, glad she noticed the difference, though!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Holidays in Spain!

So, finally we got to head back to Spain for a week - Laniña was also there with us for a week about the same time last year, but she didn´t really have any memories of it at all.

Laniña and I had talked about it a good bit beforehand, including pointing out that everyone there would speak Spanish and that she would have to speak Spanish to them too. And when we got there, the amazing thing was that she really seemed to take this on board a bit. Of course she didn´t believe me at first (she never does; probably quite sensible, really!) but we quickly noticed that as soon as she heard other kids interacting in Spanish, she started copying them right away and it was a joy to listen to! She hadn´t spoken to me much in Spanish for nearly a year (she used to mix English and Spanish freely) and I hadn´t been pressuring her to, so this was great. She also started joining in with some of the Spanish songs that I sing to her. Lovely.

One small problem, however, was that, having accepted that other people speak Spanish (she used to think it was only me!), she still thinks that everyone can speak English. Towards the end of the week it was starting to dawn that she would have to speak Spanish for some people to understand her, but I´m not sure it has fully clicked yet!

A further decision that I have reached is that, as a result of seeing that, obviously, her Spanish isn´t as developed as her English through lack of practice, I am going to encourage her more explicitly with "What´s that in Spanish?"-type questions. So far, she has responded really well to this and sometimes has spontaneously announced something in Spanish, and followed up with: "See, I´m speaking Spanish!"

Good girl!