Wednesday, November 7, 2012

two years, three languages

I got myself a notebook and started making notes about Silja's management of several languages. I'm not one (yet) to make a lot of parental notes, but having grown up in a monolingual environment myself it's fascinating to see how all these languages affect her linguistic development. Probably this will be of interest to her too one day. I thought I would share some of it here.
Her vocabulary has exploded over the last half a year or so. She continues to speak mostly Danish, but is mixing in Icelandic words and expressions.
Sýna far klistermærkerne (show dad the stickers)
Tiger búrningur (tiger costume)
Hvor biða? (wait where?) 
Some of the words I don't always understand, and I'm trying to make sense of what she is trying to say. Hvor er der biler?! Tiger børn?! Hvad snakker du om...? So I'm slowly expanding my Icelandic vocabulary as well, although she is clearly already ahead of me (to my defense I'm not read to in Icelandic).

After she started daycare, English words are also popping up daily, and are thrown into sentences. Wash your hands, cow, jumping, let's go, sit down, please. Almost every time she returns, she will say something new. Today was the word tissue. She doesn't always get it completely right, as it is with words in Danish and Icelandic, and it sometimes takes time for us to figure out what she is trying to say. She came home a few weeks back and was singing the same sentence over and over again Shalom, how are you? Shalom, how are you? Shalom, how are you? It was extended a couple of days later to How are you TODAY? One day when I was making dinner, she was playing daycare with her stuffed animals, her current favorite role play game. She had organized a little pretend circle-time and was singing over and over again I fain, hahlaba-tju, I fain, hahlaba-tju. And, of course, I realized after hearing it repeated again and again, it was the next line in the song. Shalom, how are you, how are you today? I'm fine, how about you? We still don't know how the rest of the song goes...

This clip has horrible light, but as you can see we continue to hear and occasionally participate in pretend circle time and the daycare song. See video here.

Oversæt til dansk


  1. Det er så spændende og interessant at se, hvordan hun ”organiserer” hennes sprog.
    Jeg vil være en skrivende mor, også når vores born vokser op på kun et sprog desværre (alligevel to tyske dialekter er muligt :)

  2. Interesting!

    My son doesn't mix Chinese and English in single sentences, since they are perhaps very different for him. However, he does use English way to organize words in Chinese, for example he loved to say "I know what I am doing" in his unique Chinese. But it seems that he mixed German and English a lot. He always pronounce "seven" as "sieben" although I told him ten times that "sieben" is not English. Also, when we arrived NYC, he was confused with a few words that are the same in German "bitte".