Monday, November 26, 2007
This weekend I tuned in to Milo and Zeno's exchanges. The Belgian grandparents were visiting, so Milo had the chance to boost up his Dutch big time: in two days he picked up a good 25 new words or so, not to mention new songs. For the fisrt time I also heard him address Zeno in Dutch, during an intricated game involving boats and commanders and other naval items. It is mainly in Italian otherwise, especially if I am around. And on some occasions, when Milo is playing by himself and is concentrated in his game, he would sometime mumble in French (perhaps repeating some of the games from kindergarden) and if Zeno wants to get involved, Milo would typically try to distance him in French.
Zeno seem to speak more clearly with us, the parents, when we solicitate a direct exchange on a specific topic. I make him repeat a lot of words when we eat, or when we read and look at pictures. With Milo the exchange is mainly very physical, he seeks his attention by stealing Milo's toys and running away, for instance. Yesterday also for the first time he tried to call Milo by his name: he woke up from the nap and I heard him from the crib calling out :" Mooooo!". Milo was rather amused. If you're interested in the subject, Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert, author of abook on OPOL and bilingual parenting, is currently researching case studies from multilingual families on siblings communications. Her blog describes her project and has a poll as well.