Our lazy bilingual baby

As Nico starts to say more and more words, it’s been interesting to watch how her speech develops. As many of you know, we speak only Spanish at home (unless we’re in an argument and I want to win). But Nico also gets a fair amount of English-language input at daycare or any time we hang out with non-Spanish-speaking friends, which is quite often.

She says some words in Spanish, like agua. And others in English, like “bye-bye.” And some in what could either be English or Spanish, like “bebe,” “mama,” and a ton of animal sounds (which to date include noises for the dog, cat, lion, tiger, giraffe, monkey, gorilla and lamb).

But then recently I’ve started to notice a clear preference toward either English or Spanish when it comes to certain words. And it’s pretty obvious what’s influencing her: laziness. Our daughter will say whichever word is easier.

So once, as she was sitting on the floor in our living room playing, she suddenly looked up at us and said very clearly, Caca! Which means poop, of course, but the “p” sound in poop would have been really difficult to say so she opted for caca. Now she says it all the time–usually when she does, in fact, have caca in her diaper. This has made our lives a lot easier.

Then last night she started to say “ba” for ball. Whenever we held up a ball or pointed to one on the page of book, she said, “ba.”

“Yes,” we’d say, “Pelota”,” which is the Spanish word for ball. And then just to test her, I opened up one of her books that happens to have a ball in it and I asked her, “Donde está la pelota?” or “Where is the ball?”

She looked at the page and immediately pointed to the ball. So she does in fact know the word pelota, and she recognizes that it means ball, but she’s chosen to say “ba” instead of “pelota” because she’s lazy.

Just kidding, I mean smart.

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2 thoughts on “Our lazy bilingual baby

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