A few weeks ago, B went to France and I had G all to myself for 10 days! The result was we could do what we wanted when we wanted with no schedule and it was great! During that time I discovered that G had finally figured out there is a difference between Chinese and English. I say “finally,” but at the time she was only 21 months, so really I am a lil strict :) Before this time she had been using words interchangeably. “No” was “Bu Yao” and vise-versa, but we had started to notice that she would make a funny face when Chinese came out of Mommy’s mouth. Almost as if to say, “Aren’t you the English speaking one? What’s going on here?” All this indicated to us that she was not simply learning the words, she was identifying that certain times she should use English and certain times Chinese.
Then came reading time. It started by asking her what the Chinese word was for cat (easy: mao1). When she got that right I kept asking (bunny=tu, doggie=gou gou, etc..) and she kept getting them right! So much so that I would ask words “I” did not know and she would still tell me! The minute Mommy got in the car back from France we had a quiz ALL THE WAY HOME. G aced it! The problem? we could not think of enough animals to keep the game going, so we switched to colors and objects (car, bicycle, table, chair) and anything else we could think of.
Now you can ask her in Chinese or English for either word and she will tell you. We just went to the zoo and she is teaching us words like ban ma (zebra) and he ma (hippopotamus). Who taught her the Chinese AND English for hippopotamus? I can barely type it much less say it. Even when she is wrong she is close. She repeatedly thinks “bus”=”hou che” (wrong, bus=gong gong qi che, train=hou che). I mean come on, how are you going to get into Tech if you can’t say, “gong gong qi che?” at 21 months, geez ;)
Baba hen jiao ao!