Saturday, November 17, 2012

7 English words...We're on our Way!

I know you are all dying to know but Zeke can now say "bye bye", "ball", "shoe", "gentle", "please", "bath" and "Bo" in English.  He also uses sign for "more", "eat", drink", "all done" and "sleep."  He understands so much more than that though.  (Language development usually follows a pretty predictable pattern so this mirrors what most babies do when they are learning to talk.  They understand words before they can speak them.)   He is quick to pick up when someone tells him to pick up the toys.  He hurries to get his shoes when told to get his shoes.  He crawls up in his booster seat if someone tells him that it's time to eat.  He does say a few things in Mandarin but we've honestly heard him say very few things that we understood in Mandarin (which isn't saying much because our Mandarin is non existant).  Lots of animal names due to an Android app.  (Gow for dog, sheen wah for frog, nineyo for cow, maa for horse, etc..)  He chatters all the time but who knows what he is actually saying.  For all we know he could be telling us we stink like bad cheese.  I digress...

 Realistically, he is probably at the point where he may be able to recognize some Mandarin but it is fast slipping away from him.  It's sad.  I would love for my kids to not have that loss but unless you have the ability to converse frequently with your child in their first language, they are going to lose it.  Honestly, I think the loss of language is right after loss of first family in a list of adoptive losses.  It's one of those things that if they chose to return to their birth country, that they will instantly miss and feel big feelings over as they will be unable to communicate with birth families and others from their birth countries.  They will probably find themselves frustrated because while in country, many will expect them to speak the language.  It's one of those things that it is expected for a Chinese person to speak Mandarin or a Haitian to speak Creole.  (Other parts related to culture are a little more flexible as they are determined by the family unit living within the culture.)  In all three of kids' situations, there just isn't a good local resource available.  You can't take Mandarin or Creole in high school or or go to culture school.  There is an Asian culture center about 30 minutes away and I know they sponsored a native speaker speaking contest but that's more to help preserve the languages for kids growing up in homes that speak an Asian language.

No Hands But Ours has a great read on language and international adoptions; it's worth the read as it shares research in an easy to read format.

4 comments:

Kathy C. said...

I had the kids listen to the story of Jesus online in Creole but their creole is long gone. You can listen to it in a ton of languages so you might try that. Google it.t

Nadia said...

we are lucky here...we actually have French immersion(not creole but better then nothing) and Mandarin immersion schools along with Spanish, polish,Ukrainian, and more I'm probably forgetting.

kayder1996 said...

Nadia-We're pretty rural so our opportunities are limited for language. If we were in a larger city, I think there would be a wider variety of languages to learn from either via culture schools or at least at the high school level. The only elementary schools I know of that do language immersion do English/Spanish. At our high school right now, we teach German and Spanish. Larger cities you would definitely find more variety. And there is a huge push for distance learning which gives kids the chance to take classes via fiber optics so often kids can get more unique stuff that way. Or if you are close enough to a major college, you can take it as a college credit course while in high school. Just thought I'd share since I think it's interesting to hear how Canada and the US are different.

hannahsmom2005 said...

I believe that Ni Hao Kailan uses Mandarin. My friends little boy, who is growing up in China, was excited to find it when they were visiting the states. Hannah loved it when she was little. It's one of the least annoying kids shows she liked! I know it's small, but it may help a little.