Sonidos Serranos

Sonidos Serranos: Sounds of the Sierras...
Reflecting some of my family's interests: God's wonderful creation (especially mountains and hills!), music, and language...

Psalm 121:1-2 (NASB)

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

27 September 2008

Bitsy, Bitsy Spido

"Bitsy, Bitsy Spido" (in Elizabethan) is an oft-heard song around our house. We joke that it's actually Elizabeth's version of "The Song that Never Ends" due to the fact that she always ends the song by repeating the beginning phrase; in her ending, however, she does change from her "BITSY, bitsy spido" to the "ITSY, bitsy spido" that "went up the water spout" (but not "again"). And I just love the melodramatic interpretation, too. This may be my favorite video clip yet...

favorite video clips

There’s no doubt about it: Elizabeth is learning A LOT at her little school – and she loves going! She surprised us by singing this Months of the Year song just last night.

As you can see, she obviously loves singing – and her Daddy is having fun teaching her some basics of music theory!

18 September 2008

E’s recent language developments

OK! I’m still in catch-up mode on Elizabeth’s journal but thought I’d go ahead and include some recent notes while they’re fresh on my mind – even though I have other older notes on scraps of paper that I still need to record in the journal...

First – some background on Elizabeth’s recent language developments...

She went from using mostly two-word combinations (noun/adjective phrases and prepositional phrases in November/December of last year) to expressing entire thoughts, sometimes in whole sentences and including idiomatic expressions like: ¡Qué asco! (That’s yucky!) during and after our trip to Uruguay in May of this year. Cousins Florencia and Lucía proved to be great tutors!

A challenge of raising a bilingual child (where exposure to both languages is not equal) became clearly apparent after our return to Greenville. Elizabeth insisted on talking about herself in third person, using her name. For example: Elizabeth lo hace. (Elizabeth will do it.) Perhaps a partial explanation is that we as parents tend to refer to ourselves in third person – we’re so enamored with our newly acquired titles of Daddy and Mommy! For instance: “Mommy will help you.” Or: “Let Daddy do it.” Whatever the case, Elizabeth was hesitant to begin using first person in Spanish.

We also wondered how she would catch up in English now that she was speaking so fluidly in Spanish. But we needn’t have worried... Adding Tuesdays to her Mondays and Fridays at her school gave a great boost to her English skills. In fact, she began using first person in English before she did so in Spanish and was consequently more easily able to make the connection to yo in Spanish. Another challenge involved changes in verb endings in Spanish – changes that for the most part are not present in modern English. But we’ve come a long way since then...

On Sunday of this week, Elizabeth bit her finger while she was eating. As she was crying, she held up her finger and said: Mordí el dedo. (I bit my finger.) Morder (to bite) was a new verb for her, and she figured out the first person singular form all by herself, based on my using the second person singular form to ask: ¿Qué pasó? ¿Te mordiste el dedo? (What happened? Did you bite your finger?)

Verbs obviously present challenges not only to students of foreign language but also to children being raised in a bilingual setting! Elizabeth does what any child learning her parents’ language does – she tries to make everything fit the regular rules she’s already learning. Of course, exceptions to the rules then become the challenge… Logically, according to the rules for -ir verbs, /abrido/ should be the past participle of abrir and not the irregular abierto. That’s a common issue around our house these days. And Elizabeth will sometimes accept correction and at other times will insist on what sounds right to her. (Sounds like I’m back in the foreign language classroom sometimes?!)

Elizabeth has been involved in a lot of imaginative play lately. Specific instances last week and this week involved her Baby Doll (from Yaya for her second birthday), Ton-Ton, and her Fisher Price farm animals. She gives the animals voices (altering hers so that it’s nasal or deeper, etc.) and makes them talk to each other. (The little cat says to the dog: “I’m little.” And he replies: “I’m big.”) And the Baby Doll waves and says either “Hi!” or “Bye-bye!” – very insistently, of course, until we notice and respond!

And for a while now, she has enjoyed imaginative play with Tatá’s kitchen and the play glasses, cups, and saucers and toy food that she got last Christmas. She especially loves to serve us coffee from her little cups. (Could that be a commentary on a favorite beverage at our house?!)

She is definitely more talkative than ever! And she often tires of our conversations with each other (especially at supper or when we’re going somewhere in the car), and she wants to be involved. When she wants me to stop talking to her Daddy so that she gets a turn, she will say: ¡No hablas, Mamá! ¡No hablas! She should of course be saying: ¡No hables, Mamá! ¡No hables! But she’s obviously still learning the imperative forms of verbs – not to mention the proper language register for speaking to one’s parent and authority!

Along those lines… As she has been talking more and more and demonstrating how much her vocabulary has expanded, we’ve often commented: Tenemos una nena muy habladora. Or in English her Daddy will say: “She’s my little talker!” She will now, out of the blue, say (and make us laugh): Elizabeth habla mucho. (Elizabeth talks a lot.) And she’ll often add: Mamá habla mucho también (except that she says /tambén/). (Mommy also talks a lot.) And then to make it even funnier to us, she’ll add: Papá habla bien. (Daddy speaks well.)

Funny little girl!


Two truths from the Bible...

Our pastor presented these truths earlier this summer and then reminded us of them again yesterday evening. (Repetition aids learning!)

What should be my response under pressure?

Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness.
(Psalm 37:3)

God is our refuge and strength,
Abundantly available for help in tight places.
(Psalm 46:1)

Rubber Rain Boots

What is it about toddlers and boots – especially rubber rain boots?! Elizabeth rediscovered her rain boots from Auntie Monika today and had to put them on! Never mind that they didn’t at all match what she was wearing – or that it’s not raining and we’re inside anyway! She was very proud to be wearing her boots and informed me: Papá tiene botas también (except that she says /tambén/). (Daddy has boots, too.) He does – he has work boots! ¡Es cierto! I replied. Pero Mamá no tiene botas… (That’s right! But Mommy doesn’t have boots…)

We were getting ready to eat lunch. I asked: ¿Querés comer con las botas? ¿O sin las botas? (Yes – we use the Uruguayan vos form at our house!) (Do you want to eat with your boots on? Or without your boots?) Rubber boots must get hot and sweaty – especially without socks! She looked down at them and then back up at me. Sadly and hopefully, she said: Comer con las botas… I picked her up and hugged her! (She’s SO cute!) As I was kissing her, she said: Elizabeth tiene botas – y Papá también (except that she says /tambén/). I replied: ¿Y Mamá? Mamá no tiene botas… I pretended to be very sad. She took my face in her little hands and very earnestly said: ¡No quejas, Mamá! (She should, of course, have used the imperative quejes – and added the reflexive pronoun te, too.) (Don’t whine, Mommy!) Can you tell what other lesson we’ve been working on at our house?!

Oh… By the way… I heard the boots clatter to the floor as I was dishing up the soup… Apparently, rubber rain boots do get hot and sweaty – especially without socks!