I speak English to NK. My wife speaks Swedish.
But I sense that I am slipping on the English side of things. I am not starting to speak Swedish or anything. But I am starting to directly translate Swedish words, instead of coming up with my own.
It is subtle. NK loves the word “busig” in Swedish. And it is a great word that means silly or playful or fun or goofy, depending on the situation. But it really can not be translated.
I decided long ago that the word meant silly. So I say “silly” whenever I am responding to her “busig.”
But not everyone at daycare is silly. I am not always silly. Her mother is not always silly. Silly, silly, silly, I say over and over. And that is not right.
I have no idea what the right words are though. I am caught in a box of silly with no exit. I am not around other parents, other toddlers. I am not watching anything but Sesame Street.
My toddler vocabularly is limited.
We do read a lot of books in English, of course, except many are library books, and many of those here come from England or Australia. This does not help.
So a kangaroo has lots of friends and “relations” and “can do big jumps.”
These make sense of course. But they are not natural American English. I try to catch the odd phrases and change them, but they add nothing to the daily flow of talking to a two year old.
Many of these books are both in English and another language, such as Somali or Turkish.
So that is where the real opportunity lies, I think. I should be learning Somali.
Do you know that Somali word for hiccup? I should. I have read that hiccup book hundreds of times.
But I don’t remember. Sigh.
I do know that “oh no!” is “alla maya!”
Alla maya!! What is going on with my English?
It is all so silly.