The Universal Language of Dirt


Every time we spend the weekend with Alexandra, Oscar and Dani I get another functional lesson in multilingualism.

I speak to Yago in English. Alexandra speaks to Dani in German.  Both fathers speak to the boys in Spanish.  Rogelio and I use a combination of English and Spanish to communicate while Alexandra and Oscar use Spanish exclusively.  The two boys scream, grunt, point and repeat whatever they hear, regardless of the language.

There are million of websites, books, and programs dedicated to bilingualism, not to mention the million dollar industry of language educational material.  But all you have to do is speak your language and speak it consistently.  The kids don’t care and don’t worry. They understand everything, and really, to play, they don’t need to understand anything verbal.

Wheelbarrows and dirt piles surpass language problems.

Likewise, animals to point at and imitate leave little room for misinterpretation.

No vocabulary required to get your point across.

Sheep are cool.  Chickens are cool.  Both together?  Semi-verbal, bilingual-toddler heaven.

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