Monday, November 23, 2020

Gratitude post 3

Today I'm thankful for language. 

I'm thankful for the sweet baby language I've witnessed while my kids (and nieces and nephews and younger brother and sister) have grown. Language development is fascinating...and adorable. Case in point: The other day Alexander was wearing his cute penguin pyjamas which—ridiculously—have igloos on them as well. My kids have been learning a bit about the antarctic and there was a little confusion about where certain animals lived—polar bears and penguins and such; in short, they don't live together...and penguins don't belong with igloos.

These pyjamas have penguins and igloos on them in spite of that improbability, so Andrew pointed to an igloo and asked Alexander, "What's this?"

"A...doo-dit!" Alexander announced happily. 

"A what?" Andrew asked.

"A doo-dit," Alexander repeated.

"What's a doo-dit?" Andrew asked.

"Lite, when you want to tick two paper togetter. You u'e a doo-dit!"

"A glue stick?!" I asked. "When you want to stick two papers together you use a glue stick?"

"Yeah!" Alexander exclaimed. "Lite, dat's one doo-dit, but pennins live in a doo-dit, too!"

"Close," I said. "Penguins live in igloos."

It's just so fun to watch children decode language, whether it's their first or second language. 

Today I got to have a little video call with my mom and brother (and was so thankful we could use our common language to speak with each other). Alexander did a lot of the talking on this video call and my mom was impressed at how well David managed to decode Alexander's baby speech—in two different languages! When Alexander realized Aunt Ruth was speaking Spanish (to her family on a different video call in the background), he quickly announced that he could "tout in Bannih! Uno, doe, fway, twatwoh, finto, fay, fiete, nuebe, diay!" 

Uncle David realized what he was doing right away—he was touting in Bannih (counting in Spanish)! He missed ocho, but that's alright. His counting is rubbish in English as well. But we are doing our best to figure out a few things in Spanish (and German and Russian and Arabic forth). I'm grateful for the multitude of languages in the world and am grateful for the little bit I've been able to learn in the small number of languages I've attempted to learn. I'm thankful for people more fluent than me who translate things for others. 

I'm thankful for written language, how sounds and ideas can be represented on the page (or the screen) and be distributed or kept private. I'm thankful for books and literature, for people who use language beautifully—poets and authors and screenwriters and playwrights.

I'm thankful for the change to study literature and language more (and am rather thankful to have just finished the first draft of my first final paper).

1 comment:

  1. Also what Z said: "I can't talk to Aunt Ruth in Spanish, because I don't know any words." "You don't know any words?" "No--just numbers. And colors."