Thursday 18 June 2009

Living in a Bilingual World (The One About the Linguistic Entente)

Daughter (arms crossed, neck stretching out and eyes wide open): ¿Puedes dejar de hablar y oírme, por favor? (Can you stop talking and listen to me, please?) Estoy tratando de explicarte por qué me estoy demorando con la... con la... con la... (I am trying to explain to you why I'm taking so long with the... with the... with the...) (turning to Son) How do you say 'wart' in Spanish?

Son: Verruca.

Me: Verruga.

Son: OK, gracias.

Me: Sí, pero de todas formas no me has dicho todavía por que te has demorado más de diez minutos con la verruga cuando tú sabes que vamos a leer en un rato (Yes, but still you have not said why it's taken you more than ten minutes to deal with your wart when you know that it's our reading time).

Daughter (raising her voice): Sí, pero no me estás dejando hablar. La razón porque... (yes, but you have not let me finish. The reason for why...)

Me (serious): Por la que... (why)

Daughter: ... por la que me estoy demorando es que primero tengo que... que... que... (the reason why I have been taking so long is that first I have to... to... to...) (turning to Son), how do you say 'soften' in Spanish?

Son (frowning): 'Soften'? Ahhh... 'suave', no, no thats 'soft'. Let me look it up in the dictionary.

One part of the Linguistic Entente dashes off to his room. An awkard silence ensues between the other part and Me.

Daughter (looking at me): Tú nunca escuchas a nadie (you never listen to anyone)

Me (looking away so that she canot see the smile that is about to become laughter): Sí, yo te escucho, pero hoy te has demorado demasiado (yes, I do listen to you, but tonight you've taken too long).

Son (shouting from his bedroom): ¡¡¡'Ablandar'!!! (Soften!!!)

Daughter (picking up thread of conversation): La razón por la que me estoy demorando tanto es que primero tengo que ablandar la verruca... (the reason why I'm taking so long is that first I have to soften the vart...)

Me: Verruga (wart)

Daughter: Verruga (wart). Y después tengo que limarla y después es que tú puedes poner la medicina en el dedo. ¿Entiendes? (And then I have to file it, and then you can put the cream on my toe. Right?)

Me: Sí, entiendo, diez minutos más y ya (yes, I understand, ten more minutes and that's it).

I go down the stairs and when I open the kitchen door I see Wife doubled up with laughter. I join in, too.

Copyright 2009

Next Post: 'Song for a Summer Sunday Morning' to be published on Sunday 21st June at 10am


  1. I don't know how you held in the laughter so long! Bravo!

  2. How old is your daughter?! I imagine her cringing if she knew you wrote about this....

    No, actually, I imagine foot stamping and much arm flinging! ; )

  3. Yes, I think Daughter should be able to give her side of the story, too... But thanks for the Parent side, SO funny :) - and I must say, much patience shown on all sides.

  4. i always enjoy reading these interactions with your children. thanks for sharing!

  5. Kids = humor + fun

    Great post, CiL.

  6. Knowing what a verucca is like I am siding with your daughter...that is a lovely family interaction. I didn't know you had a son too...any others?

    Happy days

  7. Great post, an example to us all! Fantabulous!

  8. And I thought dealing with pre-teen girl drama was crazy in one language. I don't think I have your fortitude to deal with it in two!

  9. Molto interessante il tuo post. A me le lingue affascinano molto, e senza arroganza dico che le imparo molto veloce quando mi piace una lingua.

    Anche se non centra molto con questo post, vorrei segnalarti una musica del gruppo GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT. Sicuramente ti piacerá se non li conosci giá. Guarda qui:

    Un saluto da Colonia Cuban,

    El Salva ;)

  10. Many thanks for your kind comments. Yes, daughter is eight and she really stands her ground :-). And no, just a son and daughter, that's enough :-D.

    Greetings from London.

  11. LOL! Be thankful you're only dealing with two languages - can you imagine if there was another one in the mix!?! ;-)

  12. Looks like you sure have your hands full! :)

  13. haha, that was interesting
    its nice to see the borders of both languages being transcended...

    and thanks for the comment
    it was a good one
    with so many thought viruses, a lot of the time we bring each other down, when we should be doing the opposite

  14. I love your family and when you talk about them, I totally can feel the love.

    When I was around 9 I had three warts on two fingers, my father said he would bless them and if I prayed for two weeks they would go away.

    Well, no shit, they were gone within days.



  15. Cuban! Delicioso este post! Sí, lo que pasamos con nuestros chamas viviendo en mundo bilingues no es fácil. Aquí en casa deben hablar español, pero tengo que estar siempre recordando eso, porque para mis bebas es mucho más fácil comunicarse en francés.

    Feliz día de los padres para ti, que tanto disfrutas de tus hijos y familia.

    Saludos desde Montreal.

  16. Does your daughter know you posted this? ;^)

  17. Many thanks to you all for your wonderful comments.

    Not only does myd aughter know that I posted this but also she passed her virus onto me as a small Fathers' Day present :-). So, we're both home now, she's in bed with a cold and I'm nursing the same catarrh. But we still manage a hug every few minutes :-).

    Greetings from London.

  18. Hey! Thanks for all your nice messages in our blog. Glad that our photos of KL bring you such good memories!

    KL and Malaysia in general are really good fun, we are so happy to be back.

    Look forward to that Bach...

  19. Many thanks to you all for your kind comments.

    Greetings from London.



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