Thursday, May 10, 2012

Speak

We all learn to talk at one point in our lives. For most of us our first language is English and that's where we stop. For a few it's two at once.

Happy is learning two at the same time, English and Kiswahili.

Funny things is I'm learning right along side her.

What really makes it funny is when I don't know what she's saying because she is still learning to put words and sounds together. So she might say something like appaju or acha or lala. A non Kiswahili speaker might say, "Oh listen to the cute little girl put words together!" but what they don't know is she is actually talking.

For the longest time we thought she was just saying sounds and her favorite was appaju. Then the other day while some people were here at the house working on the water situation I heard a man say, "hapa juu". Ahh! He's talking baby? Nope, she's talking Kiswahili. So I realized that all those times Happy was actually saying, "up here/there".

It's confusing to know when she is actually saying things or when she is just parroting us. It's also humbling when a 2 1/2 year old is teaching you how to communicate while they themselves can barely talk. Her vocabulary is growing daily. She is getting to where she can say please and she loves to say acha (stop), and who knows what else she can say that I don't understand!

I guess it does help that a lot of words in Kiswahili sound like baby talk:
Kaka: brother
Dada: sister
Lala: sleep
Pepe: candy
Wapi: where
Wewe: you

She's shy but I'll try and get a video of her talking so you know what I mean. Until then here's to learning new words.