Monday, December 03, 2007

The war against English

It was an interesting weekend form the linguistic point of view. First Milo officially forbid me to speak to him in French, which I do mainly when we are around French people. Sometimes at home I would sing along some of the French songs, and somehow he does not like my accent in French!

Then during the day he spoke English randomly...while drawing together with his Dad he suddenly shouted: "I do it!" He often simply picks up on my conversation with the Belgianite and then replicate the word at will, but very pertinently.

He heard me saying: "Amore, do you want to jump in the shower?" and he immediately mimicked me: "Amoooone, du-yu-wanna-jump-inna-shawah?" , and then he asked me in Italian: "Che cos'e' jump-inna-shawah?" I explained him and he then looked at me pensively and asked me if I just took a shower, and if I actually have been jumping in it!

Later in the day he managed to interrupt yet another conversation I was having in English with the Belgianite, and he tolds us straight out: "In Italianooo, per favore, parlate in Italiano!"
We had to address it. I asked him in Italian if he was bugged by the fact that he did not understand English, and he sais 'yes.' I proposed him to teach him English, but this time he was less inspired. I asked him if he'd prefer us speaking in French at home, and he enthusiastically said YES. We told him that from time to time we'd make an effort, but that he could learn English very easily and that would allow him to communicate and play with many more kids. He wasn't impressed.

6 comments:

Theresa said...

Mine are always complaining about having to watch movies in English, which we do whenever we get the chance (DVDs or digital TV). They say they can't understand, but they know a lot more than they think, because they even get the gist of "Friends" when we watch it after lunch. When I speak to them in English, they answer back in Spanish, but at least they understand which is a start. They can speak English just fine when they want to (when there's someone around who doesn't speak Spanish), but they prefer Spanish because it's just more comfortable. The oldest, who speaks well, reads stuff like Harry Potter, and understands almost everything in English, it the worst. She is the one who complains the most, of course she's 12 and complains about almost everything. I'm hoping once she gets past the rebellious stage and sees the usefulness of it, that she'll be more willing to speak in English.

Anonymous said...

My English speaking family recently adopted our 5 year old son from Thailand. My husband, daughters and myself have been using Livemocha.com to help us with the language transition. We can pick up some of his language and he has fun listening to both Thai and English. The site is free with lessons and live conversations with tutors, native speakers and other learners.

Clo said...

Theresa, do they have English-speaking friends? I think that would add to their motivation...

Anonymous, are you blogging about the experience? You sound like a very interesting case, I would love to hear more about your adoptive son's switch toward English and your family's gradual learning of Thai...

Sara said...

didnt know if you would check back for my answer so i thought i would answer here, re the cabinet.

It is pretty sturdy feeling, but the doors are still glass, so kids banning on it with trucks or something would worry me (but then same goes for windows, so maybe it isnt a big deal). No locks, you would have to install something childproof

it is pretty roomy and you can move the shelves to different heights. i like the look of it, and i think it would be super cute with 3 of them in a row along a wall.

Lilian said...

That's just so interesting that he'd ask you to stop speaking English. The boys generally prefer that we read to them in Portuguese (we translated if the book is in English) and it's one of the only occasions they ask us to switch languages. I'm the one who's trying now, sometimes very unsuccessfully to get Kelvin to speak Portuguese to us. When he comes home from 6.5 hours in school "living English" all he wants to do is to continue speaking it. I know... kind of scary.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say I really enjoy your blog. Our kids are 6 and 4; baby is on the way. My husband and I both speak Spanish and English; we live in the States and most of our friends are Spanish-speaking. I feel like the kids are linguistic experiments, especially since the sibling dynamics add so much (that we can't always control!) to the picture. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences!