Friday, August 13, 2010

The essence of being a bilingual child

"Ticho. That mean quiet."
"That's right, ticho means quiet. Does mama say ticho?"
"Does Apo say quiet?"
"Mama says quiet, right?"
"Yes. A Apo ticho."
"Which one do you say?"
"I say quiet. *long pause* I say ticho. *long pause* ...and quiet."


Yesterday or so K said in tones of great frustration, "I can't talk!!" Apo had asked her to answer him in Slovak and she was frustrated that she couldn't say in Slovak what she had just said in English. That's the first time I remember her explicitly expressing that thought, that she can't speak Slovak.

After that, she used "I can't talk!!" again when she wasn't able to say what she wanted in English. It was sad to see my upbeat, communicative little girl feeling so defeated. Both times I comforted her and told her that she can talk and she will get even better at talking with practice. And she will, in English and Slovak both.

At the moment, though, her understanding and complexity of thought exceeds her ability to form effective responses in words. Goodness, do I ever know what that feels like! Sadly, though, there's not much I can do to help her through it other than what I'm already doing.

Be patient, Baby K. It will come soon enough.

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