Monday, May 21, 2012

Elsie-speak

Our daughter gets English from her Mummy, Polish from her Daddy and French from the creche and much of the outside world. The poor kid is drowning in languages but instead of picking one, or using some words from each Elsie has decided the way to approach this is to add her own language to the mix.

Ah-Duh is hello. She says it mostly when holding a phone (mobiles, toy phones, remote controls... the kid's world is FULL of phones) up to her ear, but has also been known to use it while waving to welcome someone in. Give her a real phone with someone on the other end though and Elsie is at a loss. She goes quiet, gives you a worried look and backs away. Phones are supposed to be talked at - they are not supposed to answer. Also, she has been perfecting her phone chat over the months and now can go for several minutes, chatting, laughing at her imaginary counterpart's jokes and 'mm'ing in agreement on occasion. I love it.

Mo-mo is butterfly; accompanied by hand-fluttering and swishing noises that approximate everything a butterfly encompasses. This could arguably come from the Polish word; motyl, but it's not as straight forward as that. Elsie understands both the Polish and English words; if you ask her where the butterfly is, in either language, she will point at it, and tell you it's a mo-mo.

Amul is apple. Or mango. A flexible word that seems to mean fruit-that-I-like-to-eat. If you ask Elsie, 'would you like some mango?' she will say 'AMUL!' with great enthusiasm.

There are others, but these are her most established. Of course she does also have words that sound very much like English words. 'Mummy' and 'Daddy' are perfect, and she will connect Mummy with Mamusia, if Daddy refers to Mummy that way.

Animals are still referred to by the noise they make. If you point at a small animal sitting in a window and ask her what it is, Elsie will invariably say 'eouw' rather than tell you it's a cat. She answers the same way if you ask in Polish or French, and does the same with other animals too.

Signs are very common. There's butterfly of course, but she also has the plane hand movement; the star twinkling and the ever-useful, hand motions asociated with eating. Hand coming up to the mouth repeately signifies 'I am hungry and must eat immediately or I will dissolve into a heap of starving angry mess' and once the feast is over the twirling final bar of an orchestra's conductor signifies that she would like to get down.

Elsie's world has rules and routines, which she sticks to and appreciates. I can't help feeling though that in the journey to decipher this funny old world, she is making some things even more complicated for herself.

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