Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Have I mentioned how many gifts we had to bring back from the US this Christmas. Of course I have because we had to lug them over here. What has surprised me about the gifts is that many of them are another language or multi-lingual.

For instance, right now my daughter is playing with her Hello Kitty cash register that her uncle brought her from Tokyo (he lives there). She can scan each item for the cash register from the bar code provided, just like a real store cashier. I have absolutely no idea what Hello Kitty is saying, but her uncle told us some of the phrases when he gave my daughter the gift. Apparently, Hello Kitty says things like "You are buying a lot!" and "That is very expensive!" My daughter loves the gift and "repeats" the Japanese phrases and then asks me if I understand what Hello Kitty is saying. When I tell her I don't understand, she tells me that Hello Kitty said "Please use your credit card!" She makes it up. At least I think she does.

Another item my daughter received is a Dora the Explorer bingo game. Dora speaks in English and Spanish and her bingo cards have the colors on one side and animals on the other in both languages. My daughter seems to love how the Spanish words flow from her mouth and she repeats the words often. "Do you have a star that is yellow, amarilla?" In France, Dora is still bi-lingual, but her primary language is French and her second language is English. It's one of her favorite shows.

Birthdays are fun as well. Of course we have to sing happy birthday in French and English, but my son has added Spanish to the list. (His school teaches some Spanish as well as being a bi-lingual French-English school.) When we are in the States family members inevitably start blowing out the candles when he launches into language number three and have to pull back and smile.

I'm just wondering if my children will be speaking 3 or 4 languages in a few years while I continue to slowly improve upon my French and confuse my English. I don't know if I should feel proud or embarrassed.

As Dora would say, Goodbye, Adios!

-- said Auntie M in Paris
8:32 PM



WOW, what little sponges children are.
Lucky them, learning so many languages.

# posted by BohemianMama : 10:26 PM  

Your kids will learn as much as they want to - and looks like alot (language-wise) right now. That is wonderful you keep things open for them and see how much they like it - they say the young mind soaks it up. It's when we get older (and have those parental responsibilities) it gets a little harder to absorb the language. You're doing all right Auntie M!

Terry in SF

# posted by Anonymous : 10:56 PM  

Oh just rub it in why don't you---your multibilingual kids blah blah blah. I am just being rude b/c I am totally jealous!!! I totally wish my kids could speak another language besides English!!


# posted by Anonymous : 11:12 PM  

Children's language ability is just awesome. I have a son born in the States and now in preschool. He often asks me back "Hah?" and confidently corrects my English pronunciation. Usually we communicate in Japanese, though. Exactly it is a mix of pride and embarassment!

It is also interesting to hear your uncle is in Tokyo. Actually I will move to there in 3 months. Hello Kitty is now getting popular also in American continent, but actually it's a legendary long-living cartoon kitten in Japan. (I remember I saw her face on my schoolmate's notebook whan I was in elementary.) I also assume that the Kitty didn't say words like your daughter guessed, because Japanese people don't use credit card as often as American or French people. But I really like this story. Ha Ha!

# posted by Teriyaki : 3:02 AM  

I think it is fabulous that your children are learning multiple languages-- it is such a gift to them that they have such an opportunity. Learning several languages during this phase of life (when they are indeed sponges) opens their minds and their ears in ways I can't imagine---- but it is so cool. ~bluepoppy

# posted by Anonymous : 5:00 PM  

I just want to be clear about our kids. We love and appreciate that they speak a second language but they are just normal kids that speak a second language because they have the opportunity to. And... I think that once a child learns a second language it does seem easier to pick up the third...

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 8:55 PM  

I've got Bilingual kids too. When they go on to college and start language number three they certainly have an advantage. The earlier you can start them off the better!!

# posted by Anji : 10:42 AM  

where is my comment gone?

please log out from your blog and give me a call ext1783 or mail me... i cant access my blog anymore when you stay logged in

# posted by Acronius : 3:08 PM  

Hey, I'm one of those bilingual kids! However, I always thought my mother was too show-off-y: she'd ask me questions in english, very loudly, in front of her friends and expect me to answer in english. Of course, I always answered in french, na! So at least her friends could tell I understood english, but they never found out if I could speak it... I'm glad your kids aren't embarrassed! Also, I wish knowing 2 languages made learning a third easier. That was not the case for me, and I was always on the verge of failing espagnol LV2. But that wasn't until 4eme, so maybe I'd missed my window of opportunity? *sigh*

# posted by veronique : 5:28 PM  

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