Monday, 10 December 2007

Living in a Bilingual World (Vivace)

- 'Explode'.
- E-equis (chuckle)-pe-ele (chuckle again)-o-de-e.
- ???
- The next one, please?
- 'Implode'.
- I-eme (chuckle)-pe-ele (chuckle again)...

Daughter was having me on. It was my turn to test her on her spellings and I was in reminiscence mode. When I used to teach at ISPLE back in the early 90s as an assistant teacher (still a student, though), this used to be one of my tasks. Dictation. And now I was replicating it with my younger one. But I was not prepared for what Daughter had in store for me. She spelled each and every single word I told her using the spanish ABC. And she was having fun.

This is an activitiy that both Son and Daughter are used to, though. Whenever Son is in a tangle with his Maths homework I come to the rescue but he knows what the caveat is: only Spanish, mate. Thus, he now knows what a square is (cuadrado), a rectangle (rectángulo) and a circle (círculo). We're now building up towards the hypotenuse (hipotenusa) bit.

Daughter, especially, sees the whole language shebang as a game, which is good. At least she's not afraid of bringing up the fact that 'my Dad is Cuban, he speaks Spanish and so do I'. Sometimes she reminds me of Sophie, the main character of the popular series by author Dick King-Smith, whose wisecrack makes her the delight of little ones and older ones alike.

Daughter carried on spelling out English words with the Spanish ABC. When I asked her if she was going to do that the next day at school, she looked at me very sternly and said: 'But of course, papi, of course!' I just hope her teacher has a bilingual dictionary nearby.

Copyright 2007

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