Adventures in language

Today was a PD day, so we set off bright and early to finally complete our “foreign resident registration”. We were supposed to have completed it within two weeks of arrival, but were clearly behind. It is very much a process, one that involves many steps and much waiting. The keys, as far as I can tell are to arrive before the office opens and line up to be in the very first batch of people processed, and to pay a third party to do all the paperwork and walk you through the steps. We were finished within three hours, which is pretty good.

The lils had to accompany us, and were great through the morning. As a treat, I planned to bring them to the aquarium. They love fish, I love fish, and we don’t have one at home. We have been meaning to go for a few weeks, but this was the first time it all fell together. Sadly, I forgot to grab the address so asked Subbu, our driver, if he knew where it was. He did, and we started driving. About 35 minutes later we pulled up to a small pet store. I am pretty sure that something was lost in the translation.

Subbu is a great driver and this is the first time he has led us down the wrong path in the five weeks that we have been here. He’s a quiet fellow, one who we have quickly become attached too. Both lils love him, and the feeling is mutual. He spoils them, much to our delight. When we are all in the car together, one of us sits in the front, and the other between the lils. We were travelling like this yesterday, when I realized that Willy and I had switched into French, as we often do when we want to talk about something without involving the lils. I explained this to Subbu, as I didn’t want him to think that we were talking about him. He seemed to appreciate the beauty of having a secret language with small children, as he has two of his own. Willy then asked how many languages he spoke, as many people in India are multi-lingual. He let us know that it was just the local languages, only five or six! Somehow the fact that I can barely speak two pales in comparison.

The lils are learning two new languages in school, Spanish and Hindi. They seem to be picking up a little bit, and are intrigued by the idea that they will have a secret language of their own soon. Clearly they don’t realize that I can never seem to figure out what all their made up words mean. We have noticed that the lils have started to incorporate the local dialect into their speech. Some common examples include dust bin for garbage can, bathing costume for swim suit, atta for flour, dahi for yogurt, speed hump instead of speed bump, and flyover for overpass. My absolute favourite is snarl, which is used to describe a traffic jam. They spend much of their time in the car hunting for snarls and delighting when they find themselves in one!

Category: India, Lils | 6 comments

  • Kimberly says:

    I remember one of my brother’s friends when we were overseas intrigued with some of the words we used – in particular ‘garbage’ when he was used to calling it ‘rubbish’. It sticks in my mind because it always seemed to come out as “grrrbage”. I’m glad the lils are adjusting so well!

  • Sara says:

    I speak French but dh doesn’t which means out private conversations are spelled out. It’s tedious!! I love that the lils are learning so many languages

    • Lilbunnyrabbitz says:

      We spell too sometimes, but French is MUCH faster :)

      Re learning, I love it too. They are not quite as excited, but it will serve them well later in life. :)

  • Deb says:

    Our conversations should be interesting when you come home ;)

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