Sunday, March 13, 2011

An Interesting Mix of Pancakes

Tonight, as Geoff, Kaya and I were sitting on the floor reading books at bedtime, Kaya spouted such an interesting series of statements that I had to bust out a piece of paper right away so I could share the story later.

Which is now, of course.
Now that she's finally sleeping.

We had been reading the alphabet books that Tante Jules and Uncle Brent had given her for Christmas. We'd read the I, the W, and the C, and Kaya was eager to read the M, too. It was getting late, way past bedtime, however, so I told her that we'd be able to read one more book: either the M, or a different book from the shelf.

She gathered all the letter-books to put them back in their pouch (still meticulous at times about cleaning up her 'messes'), and headed to the shelf to peruse her collection. On her way back, German book in hand, she saw the M and said, "Das Buch auch wesen" [read this book too (wesen = lesen)]. A little negotiation never hurt anyone.

Book in hand, she heads to her little seat. I told her that it was time to read in the rocking chair but she'd have none of it: "Awinah wesen." [read alone (alleine Lesen)], she told us, emphatically, and proceeded to open the book and 'read'. Tell us what you see, we told her, in our respective languages. And so she began.
"Hund [dog]...
Some kids walkeen..."

I couldn't help but notice, as she turned the page, that there were some pancakes in the middle of the page. "Guck mal, Kaya. Pfannkuchen, wie wir heute morgen zum Fruehstueck gegessen haben."
[Look, Kaya, pancakes, like we ate this morning for breakfast.]

And then, she began with her surprising series of statements.

"Mama un Dada un Kaya Pfannkuchen gessen."
[Mom and Dad and Kaya ate pancakes. (un = und, gessen = gegessen]

"Mama..n Dada..n Kaya pancakes."

"Mama..un Dada..un Kaya Pfanncakes."

Isn't that crazy?!

If it isn't obvious, or in case you're as tired as I am after a long day of cranky toddler and whiny dogs, let me spell it out: Kaya made a statement in all German, one in mostly, if not all, English, and then created a perfect mix by splitting a word.

How cool is that?!

Maybe it's just 'cuz I'm her mom, or maybe because I'm a language dork...but I can't get over how incredibly amazing this is. Not amazing in a "she's a genius!" sort of way, but in a "wow, human language development really IS a fascinating thing," kind of way.

She's got the hang of Denglish and she's only 2.



  1. "If it isn't obvious, or in case you're as tired as I am after a long day of cranky toddler and whiny dogs, let me spell it out"

    LOL. Thank you because I sort of got it, but it's way too early for me to be awake. That's very cute. Kids are amazing.

  2. Hi Tamara,
    First, thanks for posting on my blog! I'm new to this scene and am loving making connections with other bilingual families. Especially those like myself who are non-native speakers and still trying to use that second language with our kids. I'm so impressed that you are using OPOL and only speaking German with your daughter!! I just couldn't bring myself to do that. For one thing, I think there are too many things in English that I want to share with my son, like books and songs. And since my husband is Dutch and didn't grow up with these things (even though he so far only speaks English with Aleksander), he isn't able to share them. And to be perfectly honest, sometimes speaking German still wears me out mentally! So I'm a little too lazy to do it all the time :)
    I LOVE this comment from your daughter! As a fellow language dork, I too think that language is fascinating. I can't wait for my son to start speaking. I'm so curious to see how it will progress....
    I would love to share materials with you! Any ideas of how to go about it?
    Your daughter is adorable, by the way!
    Kate :)


I LOVE reading your comments, they make such a difference! Thanks for sharing!