Friday, June 17, 2005

NLS language

I was invited to one of my colleague's house recently. He said that he has this cute little daughter and I was all excited to meet her. I like to play with the small kids... only if they are not too arrogant nor cry-babies. Small kids can sometimes get really annoying and one can't do much about it (in front of their parents i.e. :-P). I try to avoid such situations.

So I tried to figure out if she falls into any of those categories. I was told that she is about three and half years old. Good. So next thing I ask, "Does she talk a lot?". He became serious and said "She is cute alright, but she has a bit of a speech problem". I was all embarrassed of asking such a sensitive question. So I tried to console him by saying that some kids start speaking late, so it's not really a big problem etc. etc. He laughed and said thats not the actual problem.

The thing is, he is from Kolkatta, so at home they speak Bengali. When his daughter was born, he was working in Singapore, and there they used to speak a lot of English. He worked there for a couple of years and then returned to India. While they were there, this kid was put into some pre-school nearby for a few months. And now it's all mess.

Whenever she speaks, she uses words from any of those languages randomly..... and yes, some of them are Chinese. Small kids pick up languages really fast. It's truly amazing. Apparently, they came to know that she is speaking Chinese, when some visitor pointed it out. LOL.. So she speaks all her lines in Bengali+Hindi+English+Chinese and obviously her parents can't understand it. They normally make her repeat her sentences 2-3 times to figure out what she means to say. *Shrug*

Poor kid! she is having a tough time trying to explain things to her own parents. They need the Multiple Language Support.



semantic overload said...

that's tough one! man... how does one deal with it?

neurohavoc said...

hey... the kid sounds like a bandit i know ;-)

Alex Schroeder said...

Better than what they used to do in the old days. My sister didn't speak when she was three, so my mom went to see a doctor. There, she got told off for speaking French to the kids (I guess he didn't care about the fact that I was growing up bilingual just fine). And so we stopped speaking French at home and stuck to German. Same thing happened to Claudia's mother, by the way. These days the doctors here recognize that bilingual kids may start speaking later, but they'll be so much better off later in life...