Thursday, November 29, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
- Milo's French is impeccable and up-to-speed to his age level.
- His Italian is perhaps a tiny bit more sophisticated, however he does make certain mistakes: he does not know all of the irregular past participle (he'd say prenduto instead of preso) and has an awkward use of the reflexive mode (devo mi lavare le manine). But he can entertain family and friends with pretty elaborate conversations!
- His Dutch is lagging behind in vocabulary, and also he seems to wanting more and more speak Italian with the Belgianite. The latter is inflexible and keeps steering him back to Dutch, but Milo at one point said clearly "I prefer speaking Italian." I assume it's just a matter of (lack of) exposure, hence less motivation. In February they'll go skiing together with some Belgian friends, and that should help his Dutch to progress.
- His understanding of English has become impressive, and he really tunes in into our conversations and then asks the meaning of words. He has expressed the desire to learn it, so I picked a children book and randomly teach him sayings , colors and a little vocabulary. We are not doing this systematically or academically, just for fun, but I imagine that the daily exposure plays quite a role in cementing the words in his memory.
- He is aware all together of the existance of different languages and loves to learn little words or phrases in Spanish from Zeno's nanny, or in Japanese (we met a Japanese woman on a flight to Italy, recently).
Zeno, on his side is another interesting case because he not only has a mum who speaks Italian, a father who speaks Dutch, a nanny who speaks mostly French, and his parents speaking English with each other: he also has an older brother switching back and forth among all of the above. And his brother is THE main point of reference when it comes to interplay, talk, communications. He seeks tremendously his attention. Zeno has a very playful personality and is very expressive, but I have a feeling that at the same age Milo said more.
- He says a lot of bisillabic words (Mama, Papa, Dada, Lulu, Doudou, Dodo, nonno, nonna) and a few words that he picks up here and there ( ciao ciao, seduto, uva, auto, acqua) but he does not use them systematically.
- He recently sapent 10 days alone with his dad and he picked up several monosillabic Dutch words as well (kjek, dag).
Milo speaks to Zeno mostly in Italian and has nicknamed him Zelol, or he calls him occasionally 'Piccolino'; from time to time , when he is playing alone, Milo would switch to French and he then occasionally addresses Zeno in French as well.
The most challenging of it all, as I predicted in one of my early entries, is keeping a fluid conversation at dinner; frankly, all the switching back and forth gives me headackes. Uncounsciously, I am addressing the Belgianite more and more in Italian directly, and he oftens replies in Italian to the kids as well. So, without any preconceived strategy, it's my language which is becoming the lingua franca of this euro-puzzled family, instead of the initial equilizer, that is English. But the wind can change fast...stay tuned for more anectodes of my two little polyglots in the making!