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Adventures with (Tri?) Bilingualism – Part 3

As Kasper’s vocabulary is expanding with every week, I thought it would be nice to create a record of his first few words and expressions at the beginning of this New Year – something we can look back upon in the course of the year to remind ourselves how it all began. He is now aged 19 months and since recently has been exposed to German language additionally to the English and Polish he hears at home. Here are the results:


go-go – this is the universal word for everything that moves – cars, trains, buses, planes etc. It may have originated from a toy car which Kasper got a year ago for Christmas. After pressing a button it said Go, Roary, Go! Not sure, but this is my guess.

go – means ‘gone’. Kasper usually utters it with great sadness and falling intonation looking at his empty plate. Very different to the cheerful ‘go-go’! I think I know who he takes after.

choo-choo – train. Trains are very special for little boys and for Kasper in particular. Both of his grandparents’ houses in Poland and in the UK are located near railway tracks and listening out for passing trains has become a sort of a game. Kasper is also a big fan of Chuggington – a cartoon about trains and likes playing with his toy trains at home. Not to mention listening from the earliest days to the reading of the famous Polish poem about a steam train ‘Lokomotywa’. Yes, trains are very special for little boys.

shoe – no need for interpretation. Kasper knows about shoes and has a lovely habit of bringing us our slippers or shoes and trying to put them on our feet. Victorian mums and dads would be very proud if not jealous.

cheee – cheers. This accompanies the compulsory clinking of glasses. I don’t recall teaching Kasper this, so it must be based on his own observation. Slightly worrying!

daj – this is Polish. Strategic word meaning ‘give’. Is it a coincidence he would be saying this particular word in Polish? Does it suggest mummy as the main ‘giver’ of things? Or simply, is it easier to say than ‘give’? May soon become more and more redundant as Kasper perfects his climbing skills and learns to get things himself rather than relying on bigger people’s mercy.

no – the sweetest ‘no’ I have ever heard. Started off as a Polish ‘nie’, soon replaced by the English equivalent and a source of endless fun in conversation making. “Kasper, do you like sausage? – Nnnnnnnnno. Kasper, do you like chocolate? – Nnnnnnnnno. Kasper, do you like pizza? – Nnnno.” Neddless to say, Kasper loves all of those things. “Kasper, was your lunch nice? – Nnnno. Kasper, was your lunch awful? Nnnnooo.” Phew, finally we are getting somewhere.

mama and dada – for a while, ‘mama’ was a universal word for many things and many people. However, when sad or in trouble, the meaning of ‘mama’ suddenly becomes very precise and specific. Kasper also says ‘mummy’ which makes my heart melt. ‘Dada’ and ‘daddy’ are coming along a bit more shyly, but surely.

hello – one of the earliest words, now used very liberally at every opportunity to greet people and things, even food :). Haven’t seen Kasper for 3 minutes – and I get greeted with the most enthusiastic and heartfelt “Hellooooooo!” (So nice to see you, where have you been, haven’t seen you for a while, I missed you so, I’ll give you a hug. Let’s play now!)

halo – this is the Polish way of answering the phone which Kasper uses often when playing with phones, mobiles, bank card readers and calculators (anything that has a keypad on it and fits in a hand). Works well in Germany as it sounds just as the German greeting ‘Hallo’ too. 2 for 1 deal.

choo or tschü – ‘tschüss’ ?? Ok, this I think is Kasper’s first German word and means goodbye. Similar to the first sound of the Polish ‘cześć’ so I think it was easy to understand and very easy to say as it is almost like saying ‘shoe’. Still, I am amazed about Kasper picking this up from the Kindergarten so quickly.

Other words include caʔ for ‘cat’ with a beautiful glottal stop at the end, and Ka-purr for Kasper!

Roary the Racing Car

One Response to “Adventures with (Tri?) Bilingualism – Part 3”

  1. Which Word Translations » Blog Archive » Piesek go jeść: Adventures with bilingualism Says:

    […] I think it is high time to update you on Kasper’s progress with language learning – we have gone a long way since I last blogged about this. […]

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