Spanish Revolution

So here’s what’s going on in my house: 

Scene 1 

Gabriella: What is this, Papa? (Pointing to my clothes on the chair… she’s a total stickler for people not putting things away!)

Billy: Es el vestido de mama. (It’s mama’s dress.)

Gabriella: NO VESTIDO… it’s DRESS, Papa!

Scene 2 

Billy: Que color es esto? (What color is this?)

Gabriella: (silence)

Billy: Es morado.

Gabriella: No, Papa, PURPLE!

She is emphatic in her corrections of what she seems to perceive as Billy’s poor English. It’s actually quite incredible to realize she has the ability to translate everything he’s saying.

But still, it's disheartening that she IS translating everything and attempting to correct him rather than participate in the Spanish conversation.

In fact, the other day, she even started referring to her beloved pepe as a “passy.” I didn’t even know she knew the English word for pacifier since we have always called hers pepe. But then she got angry at us both and was shouting, “NO… PASSY!” (Read: “C’mon people, what is your problem????)

Nothing I have read on raising bilingual kids has ever mentioned the correction and translation of one parent. I fully expected her to respond to Billy’s Spanish in English… that seems to be a pretty common issue among bilingual families.

But ever the innovator… Ella has entered territory about which I know nothing. So I’m putting our experience out there, wondering if any other families have watched this type of interaction occur?

Like I mentioned, the cool thing about it all is that we are able to see that the vocabulary is inside that little mind of hers. One day I trust it will all come spilling out. But in the meantime, we are in the midst of revolution!

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  1. Hi Sarah, I teach two year olds and we have quite a few bilingual children come through and I have seen/heard from parents that their kids do/did what Ella is doing. It was a phase that didn't last long. The parents kept talking like they normally did and the child eventually moved on to arguing about different things. It's awesome that she is picking so much Spanish and able to translate it so easily!

    1. This is great to hear! Thank you for the encouragement. Someone else wrote to me as well and said similarly that it can be a phase in this generally argumentative season we call 2-years old. Yay! :)


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