Monday, 25 November 2013

My kids speak 5 languages

 My kids speak 5 languages
25 November 2013

My multi-lingual kids have mastered yet another language.

Man, but I have got the most talented kids on the planet!  And it seems as if I’ve successfully identified, their exact area of expertise.  Their strong points.  That one direction, they’re naturally inclined to succeed in.

The none-too-easy-field of linguistics.
Be still my beating heart!

Cause here’s the thing – I had kind of been hopeful, that they would at some or other point, master at least one language.  Their mother tongue (even though their mother is actually Afrikaans), of English.  It was the language I spent the most amount of time, ploughing into their brains.  It is the primary language in our home.  The language their father and I speak to each other, and most of the family too.  And so perhaps therefore, a certain level of skill is to be expected.

However, given the fact that we live in sunny South Africa, that Afrikaans is a part of the landscape for children in this country, and the happy coincidence, that their mother is Afrikaans, they have certainly had a fair amount of Afrikaans ploughing too.  And thus, they are able to gooi the taal.  At least ‘n bietjie.  And though the three of them have various levels of proficiency, in terms of speaking it, I think it is fair to say, that they most certainly understand the basics.

The downside, of this, is that as their Afrikaans skill has increased, so too has my ability to speak about them, in front of them, in a language they no longer understand.  You know exactly what I mean right?  I think we all do it.  That “secret” code you dip into.  Most especially between parents.  When you discuss your kids openly, and they quite simply don’t have a clue.

But all was not lost – in terms of “The Code”.  Once we realised, that they were able to understand our lingo, we resorted to spelling out words.  We often spoke about the S-W-E-E-T-S.  Or the S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E.  Though great was our surprise, the first time one of them “cracked” the code.

And so I thought, my kids’ language development was done.  They spoke and understood English.  They kinda grasped Afrikaans.  And the older they got, the better they got at figuring out S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G-speak.  Clearly, it was done.  Right?  Well, unless they decided to take up a third language.  Like French, Mandarin, Spanish, Xhosa, etc.

Little did I know – they would still be able to grasp another two complete languages.  I told you they were talented!  They most certainly take after me…

Firstly, they’ve successfully, internalised, BODY LANGUAGE.  I have noticed that though they started with body language training, in their formative years, their real skill in this form of communication, is best witnessed in their teenage and pre-teen years.  Who would have thought, that a simple rolling eyeball would so aptly depict disdain.  Also disbelief.  And as for the shrugged shoulders and “world-got-me-down” shoulder-slouch?  True masters of their craft.  Such dedication to expression.  Actually a “joy” to behold.

And secondly, TEXT TALK.  Now I’m all for moving with the times.  Of staying abreast of current trends.  Yet, this area of linguistics, shows true talent.  Because what this means, is that my children have completely taken on the concept of abbreviations and acronyms.  And they tend to use these in everyday life. 

Or perhaps, they have just learnt from the pro’s?  Cause what is TEXT TALK, if not a variation of the way my husband and I used to spell things out?  So maybe they are trying to emulate us?  And imitation is the highest form of flattery.  Or so I’ve been told.  In Afrikaans and English.

However, it does give me pause for thought sometimes, when I hear them talk to one another.  Most particularly, when they’re arguing.  Then it’s all, FYI (For Your Information), TMI (Too Much Information), WTH (What The Heck), TMT (Too Much Talking), etc.

Though just the other day, I did have a really good giggle. 

Most of their TEXT TALK is pretty easy to decipher.  To understand the meaning and the reasoning behind the TEXT TALK even.

Still, hearing Amber and Cole having a verbal altercation (about who knows what), and Cole saying to Amber, “DILLIC”, had both Amber and I puzzled. 

Well, having to pause conflict, so that Amber could ask Cole, exactly what DILLIC was, most certainly helped to deflate frictions and managed to cease verbal fire.  At least for a while.

And the answer?  What precisely does, DILLIC, stand for?

Well, duh!  Surely it’s obvious!


Gotta love it!  In a warped kind of way, at least.

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1 comment:

  1. Your kids are most amusing.
    The highlights keep up from crying!!