Thursday, June 04, 2009
BILINGUAL DILEMMA NUMBER TWO
Léon is looking at a wildlife picture search book. He came to a page with a giant squid on it. 'Would you look at that giant squid Thomas?' asked Léon. 'Ja, jeg kan godt se blæksprutten!' replied Thomas. (Like all bilingual kids, they often have these two language exchanges.) 'No, it isn't an octopus Thomas, it's a squid - it is bigger than an octopus' (and has two more legs you know!) So Thomas explained over and over that there was only one word in Danish and it covered both animals but to Pudge that just wasn't good enough. Léon brought more and more pictures of squid and octopuses to try to convince Thomas to invent a new word in Danish. He even showed him a toy one as if that would suddenly make him see the error of his ways.
Of course to help explain, I mentioned to Pudge that it was just like both turtle and tortoise being skildpadde in Danish or tortue in French, but that only resulted in him showing him pictures of turtles and explaining they had flippers instead of feet and lived in the water as if, once again Thomas would suddenly find a second Danish word to differentiate between the two shelled creatures.
I just love having bilingual kids. If I had all the money in the world I think I'd take time out to do a PhD on bilingualism :-)