I’ve been slow to report on Klara’s multilingual progress. But I am so excited by what she can now do and say. She has made a big jump that makes me want to scream and shout with joy!
First, she asks tons of questions. When I read about the “why” stage, I always read how I should sometimes ignore these questions, and that it’s annoying and will drive me crazy. You know what? It doesn’t drive me crazy. It is delightful! I love all the questions- because I can finally have a full conversation with my witty, bright daughter. It has made wonders for our relationship! By asking questions, she can fully show me the depths of all what’s going on in her busy little brain. So, I get lots of “why”- questions which is typical for this stage- “why does the baby have to drink?”, “why did you do that?”, “why do I have to go to school?”, and my favourite one: “Why doesn’t laundry do itself?”. I totally wished I knew the answer to that one.
We now also get questions related to her multilingualism. She can now distinguish between the languages, and is very confused when she hears somebody speaking a language they’re not “supposed to”. So when I speak German to my husband, she often asks me, in Polish, what I said in German- as if she didn’t understand me when I speak German. The same goes for Dutch. The cool thing is that she encourages me to speak Polish to my husband, and usually says that he can understand some Polish hence I should use it in my communication with him.
Instead of just repeating words and phrases after us, she begins to try to make sense of grammar. I wish the words she invents were translatable because they make me proud, and they also make me laugh and I’d just love to share them with you. It’s visible how she tries to understand how Polish works- with all its crazy grammar and rules. She does the same for German and Dutch but they seem somehow easier for her and she adapts quicker. But I am sure that she will learn the correct forms of Polish grammar as well.
And, finally, she makes puns, which is a delight to my ears! I come from a home where puns and play on words were like daily bread- in Polish, but also in other languages. A sense of humour and the ability to play with languages is a quality I really appreciate in people. I think my girl is hilarious, and she can do puns the same way we used to do at home. And, she also plays with the many languages she speaks. For example, we were at the dinner table, eating avocados. Klara loves avocado (sometimes). Suddenly she said, pointing at her avocado: “Javocado”. She took the German word “ja” (yes), and somehow decided that it would fit with the word “avocado”. The next step soon followed: “nievocado”- “nie” means “no” in Polish.
So, not only did she make her first pun at three and a half, it was also a multilingual pun. I already see her growing interests in languages. This kind of thinking is pretty remarkable, and I am sure that it comes from her being multilingual. I am so looking forward to hearing what she will come up with next!