11/28 - Sanda has been teaching us Romanian, and one day Jonathan was asking what various random words were.  We thought he said, "walk" and Sanda hesitated because it's a verb, so when she asked him to clarify (I walk, you walk, she walks?) he said, "No! Not 'walk' with a w, 'lock' with an l."

That same day, we were waiting in the parking lot for Jon to come down from one of his jobs.  Jonathan was getting impatient, so he decided to countdown the time until Daddy would come.  He counted backwards from ten to one, and when he finished, Daddy came out the door!  (This was about the counting backwards, but the coincidence was fun, too.)

11/29 - We're pretending to be Mary and Joseph.  I (Joseph) am finishing up dishes in the kitchen.  Jonathan, sitting on the couch (with a big tummy) pipes up, "I'm aiming for 10:30 to get to Bethlehem."

12/3 - Mommy and Jonathan playing with spelling puns:

J:"I M U"
H: "No, I'm me, you're you."
J:"That's what I said; I M U!"

12/6 - Jonathan was sitting in my lap crying about something I've forgotten.  Noah noticed that Jonathan's nose was wet, so he (Noah) went and got the tissue box and brought it over to us.  How sweet!

A few people have commented that in just the past month or so, Noah has gone from baby to little boy in the way he acts and interacts.

Jonathan has a very good ear.  Sanda, who was hesitant to speak Romanian to the boys at first because she didn't think it would be useful to them later (who would they speak it with, and then it would be gone) is so delighted with Jonathan's accurate pronunciation that she can't help teaching us new words. 

This ear for language also expresses itself in a manner that is annoying to me - Jonathan can imitate other children's speech problems perfectly!  It bothers me because I know that he can say things correctly, and I feel he's "regressing" if he talks like that.  On the other hand it's amazing how he can sound exactly like one particular friend, when Jonathan himself didn't even talk quite like that before he figured out correct pronunciation.

Yesterday, Jonathan read the first and third Bob books (#2 is hiding somewhere) to me. He got tired in the middle of #4, so I finished it for him and then read a few more to him. He does try guessing from the pictures a lot, instead of looking at the actual letters.  If he sees "had" but thinks it's "has" he goes through "hasd" and much prompting before getting it right.  One incident I found interesting: early in a book, he read "dog" fast and correctly.  Later, when I was covering the pictures to help him focus on the words, he said, "d-oh-g, dog!"  That showed me that he hadn't actually read the word the first time, but that he can, in fact, read it if he thinks about it.

Posted by Heather Daley on December 12, 2007, 2:20 pm | Read 3315 times
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That's some of my annoyance with books that enable guessing the story from the pictures: They encourage guessing. Worse is the approach often taken in schools; I'm not kidding: Look at the first and last letters, look at the pictures, think about the context, and guess!

John Holt, I believe it was, in talking about the frustration of beginning readers who figure out a word on one page and then have to figure it out again on the next, reminded us that for a beginning reader, it's not the same word but a new word all over again. It takes a while to be able to trust that d-o-g is "dog" every time.

Posted by SursumCorda on December 12, 2007, 5:23 pm

It bothers me because I know that he can say things correctly

You know this story but I'll say it again because it is relevant. I identify with this because of the phase you went through, imitating your friend's style of drawing when I knew you could draw much better. It would have been much better had I not troubled you about it, but you were entering a drawing contest.... Stupid parental pride -- all it did was make both of us miserable.

Posted by SursumCorda on December 13, 2007, 9:22 am

Oooh, agglutinating languages! Fun stuff.

Children have very good ears compared to adults. Over the years we train ourselves to ignore slight variations of sound to understand each other better, but children don't have those filters yet (Example: "to-may-to" or "to-mah-to." Or how Japanese have a hard time distinguishing "L" from "R").

As for learning a "useless" language, language learning helps children to understand their native language better and enables them to learn other languages more quickly, so it's a good thing! (Says the girl who spent 4 years learning a "dead" language.)

Posted by Laedelas on December 13, 2007, 1:57 pm

Amen, Laedelas! No language learning is useless. And all learning helps the brain grow, especially at that age. But she's right that it would be better if he could keep it up...the brain also "prunes" what it doesn't use. :(

I used to say the Japanese have a hard time with L and R. Then I went to Japan, and tried to pronounce their R! I couldn't come close. For some reason, R is really hard in many languages. French and German, for another example....

Posted by SursumCorda on December 13, 2007, 2:58 pm
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