Chiang Mai Thai

Ever wanted to learn Thai, in Chiang Mai? I did just that from November 2010, returning home in October 2011. If you don't want a headache, start HERE, it will explain the preceding posts. I'm Snap, Stray's other half. COOEE is our (other) travel blog.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Oh, to be two years old again

Getting reacquainted with our grandpumpkin, who will be two in a few weeks, has reminded me about the frustrations of learning a new language.

The importance of contextual speech and frequency of the word, is key to translating. For instance, it's obvious if that little hand of her's wriggles its way into yours and she says 'boor' (over and over again) that she's saying 'walk'. Dropping my 'sheeeews' at my feet is a pretty blatant clue, also.

Or, if she's crept off the naughty mat and is pleading "shewshebla nanoo shweesha ay nanoo" that 'nanoo' = 'naughty'. (She's very big on the 'sh' words) This, reinforced by an excitable and very serious (toy) phone conversation shortly after, where 'nanoo' is repeated several times.

Growing up with two different accents. Her Dad is Stoke on Trent English, our CJ, Australian, so there are definite different pronunciations of particular words. I hadn't thought of how this will effect her early language learning until yesterday, while trying to encourage her to say our friend's name...Luke.

However, every time we repeated his name, she swung her head around to see what we were telling her to 'look' at.

'Bup' is obviously 'up'...because she's raising her arms, but it also doubles as 'down'. 'Mum' is always her name for her actual Mum, but it's also a word she uses when seeking safety and a command or request for when she wants help or a task performed...poor Mums.

Of course, she (unlike us) has an advantage, as we, those who surround her, make an effort to understand her and translate grandpumpkin speak into English.

And, why is it that I've never met a child who learns to 'yes' before they've learnt to say 'no'?

Cheers! สเนป See what else we're up to at Cooee!


  1. What a great post Snap. When my son went through his babyhood he had a wonderful vocabulary as well. He started off with Pookha. Everything was a Pookha. Then he gradually made up words for other things around him... with inanimate objects having characters just like humans. I miss that magical time.

    1. My sides were almost splitting the other day as she spoke on her phone with incredible gusto and high pitched intermittent squeals. I missed recording the best bits, which I was going to incorporate into our phone answering machine greeting message..."If you are a telemarketer [INSERT GRANDPUMPKIN] please hang up now...."

      It IS truly a magical time, until dusk, when weregrandpumpkin emerges ;)


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