Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Curiosity of Children

My young kiddos impress me so much. In recent weeks they've jumped at any chance to learn and use words in other languages. They have a big brother who has a girlfriend who is fluent in Portuguese and when they learned this, they were all over me to teach them some Portuguese. They'll just have to ask her when they meet her. I know nothing.

Each day when I leave for work, it is our custom to meet at the door for hugs and kisses and well wishes. "Goodbye, adios, watch out for cars" is the familar refrain. Today I taught them a few of the French words and phrases I know: Bon jour, au revoir, comment allez-vous, ca va. They ate it up and we had the big time saying hello and goodbye to each other and asking how one another was doing. We were doing very well, thank you very much.

As I shared on Twitter, Ari made me laugh earlier this evening by remaining curious about words said in other languages even when my mind was a million miles away from that. She was in the tub but doing more playing than bathing. I got after her to hurry up.
"Bathe," I said impatiently to my little girl. "What does bathe mean?" "It's another way to say 'take a bath.'" "Oh, I don't speak French."
The girl cracks me up.

So does the boy. A few Saturdays ago, I went to that one place in the apartment where I pretend that no one can bother me: the bathroom. I tuned the radio to WPLN to listen to La Rondine in peace. Of course, Joshua entered within minutes, but instead about making the usual noise about Star Wars toys or complaining about his sister, he just sat down on the floor with me and asked me what I was listening to. I told him that it was called opera and he said that he liked it. With that I let him stay and listen with me and he asked me what language they were singing in and what they were saying. His interest lasted all of about five minutes, but that's not too bad for a five-year-old boy with video games, television, and a million stormtroopers in the next room.

I thought that was the end of his interest in opera but tonight Joshua asked me to turn on some opera on his bedside radio. Of course, the radio station was playing classical music instead tonight and he was a bit sad about that. He rolled over and muttered quietly and pitifully, "I never get to listen to opera." Well, if that's what he wants to fall asleep to, I guess I'll have to burn some CDs for him tomorrow. Maybe some Jean-Phillipe Rameau. You know, since he's already a bit familiar with some French. Au revoir.

4 comments:

The Old Man and His Dog said...

Ahhh being married to a Brazilian I get to learn a little Portuguese now and again.

Boa noite (pronounced "Bo noichee")=Good Night

dĂȘ um beijo (pronounced "Dahm Bay zhoo")=Give me a kiss

obrigado (pronounced as it looks)=Thank you

bom dia(pronounced "bone gia"=Good morning

Then there's the bad words. Which we won't teach you for your kids.

The Old Man and His Dog said...

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Thanks!!! :)

cherrie said...

I think it is really important for children to be familier with another language. I remember growing up my grandparents spoke French and I still remember some of it today. I try to say some to them. They think it is kinda cool. Continue with your children and they will remember when they are older.

christinajade said...

my father was raised in Argentina, and growing up i was somewhat bilingual. after his mother passed, we were an English-only family. as i was 10 when that happened, i honestly don't remember much of it at all, i wish i did.