Monday, October 20, 2008

First verb

Seemingly out of nowhere, Joris uttered his first verb today.

My friend Paola and her little girl Luna were over playing at Avery's house in the afternoon and all three tots were interested in the little ball track that Avery has. Joris likes to hoard the balls - he'll walk around with three of them in his hands - and so I asked him to share with the girls.

He shook his head.

"Joris, can you roll the ball in the track?"


"Yeah, roll. Wait - did he just say roll?"


When I asked him to repeat the word to his dad at the dinner table tonight, he smiled mischievously before saying it again. He then asked "more", which meant that he wanted us to keep asking him "can you say roll?". Naturally, we obliged. He was so excited and obviously pleased with himself for saying the new sound!

I don't want to draw any hasty conclusions, but I think this is a sign that English will (naturally) be his dominant language. Which is to be expected, although I sometimes secretly hope that for the first little while - a year or two maybe - his Dutch will be more prominent.

"Owl" has definitely become the English pronunciation now, as has "no" (it was, and occasionally still is nuh-nuh). The other words are either names (mama, dada, boopa, doo-ta (Joris), gngh-gngh (auntie Chris) and demonic sounding mama (grandma)) or words that are the same in either language (ba(ll), bu(s)) or are unfinished (ba meaning bath in either Dutch or English) and thus not belonging to one language or the other.

Grandma, on more than one occasion, has made the remark that she'd better start learning Dutch in order to be able to communicate with her grandson, but that fear will prove, in all likeliness, to be unfounded. The majority language (the language spoken in the community) will always have the advantage over the minority language (the language spoken by a handful of relatives) and so it's up to me to try to stuff at much Dutch in his little noggin before he will decide to reject the language altogether...

1 comment:

Christine said...

WOW! You will have to get him to say "roll" and "no" tomorrow... I can't even picture what they must sound like.