Sunday, August 24, 2008

53 Day Geniuses

Human brains are amazing.
Well, human kids, that is.
Well, okay, MY human kids brains are amazing.

How are these girls, who've lived in a Creole speaking country for 4 years and 6 years, and have had virtually zero English spoken to them, understand a single word I say?

~shrug~ But they can!

We're working hard at encouraging English and writing down words and labeling things, having them repeat our words and praising their efforts, etc etc.

But I don't take much credit. I mean, sure, that stuff helps, but I am flabbergasted at the rate at which they pick it up! Way faster than I'm "teaching" them.

Immersion is the best way, they say. I believe it! They've been home for only 53 days and they're already bilingual. It's absolutely amazing.

Yolanta speaks almost only English now. I hear her now and then speaking Creole to her sis, or when she's upset and is having a hard time finding the right words to communicate her troubles to me. Now, she's not a huge conversationalist exactly, but when she DOES talk, it's in English. And, I've pretty much done away with sign-language and French or running to the Creole dictionary. She understands enough words and context to get what I'm saying.

Katie is still learning and I'm still doing hand motions and pointing at the things I'm talking about with her. She's so stinkin' cute. She mixes the two languages often.

M'aca please (help me please)
Pa broken (not broken)
Not kase (not broken)
Mete upstairs (put it upstairs)
Jete garbage (throw it in the garbage)

I hope that they' retain their language, but really, I don't see how that's really going to happen. I mean, there's soooooo few people who speak Creole in the world, and I know French, but it's so different. Use it or lose it.

Okay, I know this is an abrupt ending and there is so much more to say on the language aspect of the transition period, but I have to go and wanted you to have something to read for Monday morning.

Orevwa (good bye)


Youthful One said...

You're right.

They are BOTH so stinkin' cute. I marvel at how you cannot spend all day every day just eating them up.

They so obviously fit in your family. There's no doubt whatsoever that God designed them for (all 3 of) you and (all 3 of) you for them.

Oh, and the language thing? Don't forget Amy - she's probably done as much or more teaching of English to them as you have. Sisters can be like that, you know. :D

dkuroiwa said...

I absolutely love that picture of them in the pink shirts!! Adorable!! All three of your daughters are so lovely!!!
(and they will do floors too...!!)

The whole language process with kids is amazing to observe. Though Japanese is the main language in this house...My oldest speaks and understands English almost fluently, my youngest understands English but will answer in Japanese and sometimes toss in some English words...which is happening more and more these days. I try to speak only English to them, while Japanese to their's kind of crazy!!

Might I offer a suggestion? Since it might be difficult to find someone who speaks Creole around you....would it be possible to find some music for the girls to listen to? My boys do love to listen to English and they are understanding more and more of the songs!! Maybe the creole CDs would help the girls to retain a bit of that part of their life would almost be as if since you have made them a part of your life, through listening to music together (and dancing...there must be dancing!!), Amy, you and your husband could help them to not lose that part of their lives.
(does that make sense? I feel as if I'm sorry!!)

DotBlogger said...

Youthful One,
Yes, Amy IS a big help! No doubt about it that the girls are learning from her in more ways than I even realize.

Yes, we actually have a few CD's that have Creole music and play them all the time. This house is never without music. We have many French CD's, too. Thank you for that suggestion. I often have the Creole music playing as they fall asleep.

Thanks, Ladies!

Michelle said...

The girls keep looking happier and more contented in each photo. You can tell they are well loved and seem full of joy.

TheWinnFamily said...

Beauties! Kids are amazing, man they learn quick!

Blessed Mama of 4 said...

Thanks for the Monday morning (or afternoon) read.... some bloggers have become so summer-lovin-lazy (and by that I mean me....)

the Penn's rock! They are geniuses, all of em!

The Haiti Lady said...

I told you they would pick i tup before ya knew kids amaze me everyday with what they know.
LeAnne The Haiti Lady

christa jean said...

If only I could learn things as fast as those girls are! Woo-eee!
God's Haitian creations are amazing.

Youthful One said...

I have to tell you -

I was making breakfast yesterday and noticed the girls' photo on my fridge (quite outdated, mind you). I immediately remembered this post and was struck with the shocking difference in their expressions between then and now.

It led me to pray pretty deeply, especially for Yolanta. I can tell you more about that in person.

But I think it is pretty obvious that both of their smiles have noticably grown in the last 55+ days. Not just in width, but in depth.

Kismet said...

Yolanta's english is indeed becoming more fluent. But I love to hear Katie babble and ramble in Creole!

You are great parents.