Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Yesterday was an end of an era. My Israeli nephew ( now three years old) realised for the first time that I don't speak Hebrew. We have spent quite a few fun evenings together in the past. I could say enough to get by ( juice, apples, nose, where are you?, good night, hello, how cute etc.). But this time his language skills way way outstripped mine.

Dressed in a lion suit he was running about telling everyone to to 'be scared' and to cry out 'mummy' ( immale) when he roared. Noticing that I was not doing what he said but just smiling at him, he asked his mum to "tell Sophie what to do". And then a bit later he said "I want to talk like Sophie" and asked "why doesn't Sophie speak (normally)?". The cat was out of the bag, his mum explained that I grew up in a country where they speak English. So I couldn't speak Hebrew. Then we made a game where I asked him how to say something in Hebrew and then told him how to say it in English.

This lead to him fabricating significant parts of a new language "English". Suddenly you ask him how to say anything in English and he had a confident reply ready, he joined in our English conversation with gibberish. When his mum told him to say "Shalom"( good bye), instead he corrected her, solemnly stating that in English you don't say Shalom, you say "Shalem"!!


Blogger Catalin said...

This is so great! Aren't people amazing? (maybe especially kids!) Good job observing and recording what he was doing.

I shared it with the folks in the seminar I'm taking, Notions of Competence.


11:52 am  

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