Sunday, April 24, 2011


It's a unique language, that's for sure. Today at church XiXi said, "Wo yaow go see Lucy," a half Chinese/ half English sentence. He rarely chatters in Mandarin anymore, which is sad but expected. Most of his communication is made up of the few Mandarin words that we all know or a mix of Mandarin and English, or Charades, which he's great at. The other day one of the kids came to me and said, "XiXi told me that Cholita fell on her bike and got hurt?" I asked them how XiXi "told" them that. Well, he pantomimed riding a bike, then a crash, then crying. He threw in his sister's name and suddenly he had a story that made sense to the whole family. If you're ever picking teams for a game of Charades, pick XiXi. He rocks.

And I was there when Cholita fell and he ran to her saying in English, "Are you O.K.? Are you O.K?" He rarely adds single English words to his vocabulary; usually it's whole phrases and sentences. He opened the door yesterday morning, clicked his tongue at our big dog and said, "Out you go, Olaf!" Other phrases include:

*I need a' go potty.
*help please
*thank you Xie Xie, Ni. (with this one, he almost always says both the English and the Mandarin)
*Oh wow. Look a' dat! (usually the "dat" is a truck, which he also can say.)
*I love you.

He uses "Baba" less now and generally favors the word "Dad". Water is no longer "shway" and when he wants to eat he says he wants to eat, he doesn't "yaow chur". Still, even though I realize he is grasping the language at an amazing rate, I also know he's had to completely regress in his ability to communicate and it's so very frustrating for him. All research shows that the first language is lost much faster than the new language is gained. What he's left with is a frightening gap where he doesn't really have a language at all. Right now, he can muddle through both languages, but he won't be able to for long.

So, while we have it, we'll cherish the Lao Hu song:

And cheer on the emerging "I love you's":


Jennifer said...

How cute! It's awesome how he can communicate and how his English and Chinese is blending. Very cool! :) Happy Easter!

perennial-mommy said...

Precious! Love the video. Praying the language gap doesn't last too long! He's such a smart boy. :)

Kelly said...

That was totally awesome Eileen! I await each post of yours now and totally ignore all the other ones. I should call you soon and get the nitty gritty details.