Bilingual Kids Say the Darndest Things

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-31-2007
Bilingual Kids Say the Darndest Things
8
Thu, 02-10-2011 - 1:39pm

Hi everyone,

I've lurked here sometimes but I've never posted before. My DH and I are raising our son bilingual with English and Russian. DH was born in the former USSR but moved with his family to the U.S. when he was just two years old. Russian was the first language he learned, but English took over as his primary language so he's very fluent with Russian but not quite at native speaker level. I don't speak any Russian at all except what I've picked up from hearing him speak to our son. Charlie, our son, is now two and a half. Since he was born, DH has talked to him exclusively in Russian, never in English. His first words were in English, but he has been picking up Russian steadily. Now he speaks full sentences in English to me and at school, and with his dad and other Russian speakers he will sprinkle Russian words into his grammatically English sentences.

Lately I've noticed something interesting. When there are two words that sound similar in Russian but very different in English, sometimes Charlie thinks they are the same word. Then, he will use only one of the two English words for both things. Let me give an example. In Russian, the word for elephant is "sloan" and the word for dream is "soan." So in English, Charlie might tell me, "I went to my nap and had an elephant." For another example, the Russian word for train is "poy-izd" and the word for belt is "poy-iss." So if DH puts on a belt when he gets dressed in the morning, Charlie might point to him and tell me, "Daddy wear a choo-choo train."

I know that this will sort itself out as he gets older and gets a firmer grasp on both languages, but it is the most adorable thing ever! Has anyone else seen their kids do this?

Jadzia

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2002
Fri, 02-11-2011 - 2:56am

Hi Jadzia and welcome to the board.

My ds has recently become a teen so it's been a long time since I've had a little one in the home learning two languages.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2002
Fri, 02-11-2011 - 5:17am

(This was published as a blankmessage!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2002
Fri, 02-11-2011 - 5:39am

Hi Jadzia

Lovely photo of your DS.

My DD doesn't speak enough of her second language for that to be a happen.

Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2002
Fri, 02-11-2011 - 2:41pm

Had you typed up a message and it posted blank Moss?

I'm currently seeing a few odds things tonight so maybe they are tweaking some items around here.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2002
Fri, 02-11-2011 - 2:50pm

Moss, I did some checking and they are doing some tweaking to the boards so that might be why you are seeing some errors.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2002
Fri, 02-11-2011 - 6:26pm

No in this case I hadn't

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2002
Fri, 02-11-2011 - 6:28pm

I do remember it suddenly came up that they were closed for maintenance this afternoon

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2002
Sun, 02-13-2011 - 3:43am

Yes, they were upgrading the top headers.