S is now a little chatterbox. At home he’ll mostly be chatting away in Spanish, with some English along with made up words and sounds mixed in. Recently he’s been asking me for the English word for the vocabulary he knows in Spanish. This morning, while we were stuck in traffic on the way to nursery and I was complaining about us being late, he asked, ‘Cómo se llama tarde, Mamá?’, which is his way of asking how to say something in English.
When other children come over to play he’ll switch into English and address me in either Spanish or English. In this case he is mirroring my behaviour as I tend to speak to him in English when we are around other English speakers, but not always!
He continues to make up words in English by applying English grammar and sounds to the Spanish he knows. For example, when he couldn’t think of the word umbrella, he called it a ‘par-ah’ – the word ‘paraguas’ without the Spanish sounding endings.
Occasionally he makes something up that does actually exist. He was playing with his pirate ship with his friend and I heard him say he was looking for a ‘pistol’. I thought it was strange that he knew this word. It’s quite old fashioned and I didn’t think we’d read it in any books. Then it dawned on me he was just saying ‘pistola’ without the a!
It’s really interesting how he’s using each language to build the other.