Big. Green. Boobie.

Yago is learning new words in both English and Spanish everyday.  There are several things that amaze and amuse us now that perhaps worry parents of older kids.  But at just 20 months these things seem cute, like peeing on the floor is cute.  The novelty will wear off.

For example;

  • Regardless of how he mixes languages, when speaking to his Dad Yago puts adjectives behind verbs, as per Spanish grammar, but he puts them in front when speaking to me.

For example, if his Dad asks him what he would like for breakfast the answer is  “Pancake grande,”  but if I ask him it is “Big pancake.”

  • Sometimes he adopts the vocabulary from one language and uses it with everyone, but other times he choses the correct language and uses it only with people who speak that language.

For example, if you say “Camion” (truck) he will shake his head violently and insist on “Pick-up, pick-up, pick-up.”  However,  he is not offended by the word “coche” (car) and uses both options.  Colors are in English, numbers are in Spanish, no exceptions.  Colores get added in randomly.  That may have more to do with the fact that his Dad is color blind and consults Yago to know if his cell phone is charged or not.

  • Occasionally he makes up words that are a combination of both English and Spanish.

For example, he combines “Fish” in English, with “Pez” in Spanish to make “Piss,” which seems very funny now.  However screaming “Piss, Piss, Piss” on school field trips to the Aquarium might make the staff a bit nervous about their carpets.  By school time, floor peeing will definately have gotten old.

Although his vocabulary is primarily based in nouns and adjectives, Yago is starting to tell stories.  He relies on a lot of mime and repetition, but he gets his point across.

Here are a  few favorite stories I have heard dozens of times this week:  (Spanish words translated in brackets)

  • Chico (little)  Nana.  Push.  No Nana.

Translation:  When I talk to Nana on Skype she looks really small, and if I push the screen-off button, even though Mom tells me not to, Nana goes away.

  • Yago.  Dirt.  Coche (car).   Plus clapping.

Translation:  It is really fun to take big handfuls of dirt from the park, fill the back of my Winney the Pooh car, and then unload it at home in the living room.

  • Mas (more).  Green.  Boobie.  BIG.  Boobie.  Plus eye rubbing.

Translation:  It’s bedtime.

PS:  This post is part of the Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism, hosted by “Where Going Havo.”  You can check out lots of great information on multilingual families by clicking here.



  1. I wish my daughter was more bilingual. While my husband only talks to her in Portuguese, he only has a few hours a day with her. The rest of the time she hears English, especially in school. She’ll pick it up eventually (and she’s really trying now that we’re in Brazil), so I’m not terribly worried, but I love hearing stories like yours where the kid is learning BOTH languages!

  2. Yah, I hope your boobies are not green Rea 🙂 How often do you skype with your mom? My husband’s parents are not in Prince George, so Megan Skypes with them quite a bit. Our experiences are the same as yours… and Megan likes to shine the flashlight on them and they pretend it is in their eyes 🙂 I am sure that they are very grateful for Skype, or they would be missing quite a bit of her growing up.

    Thanks for a good friday laugh!!!

  3. Love this! My boyfriend (and I am pretty sure future-father-of-my-children) is Spanish; I am American. We hope to have children and raise them bilingual too.

  4. That’s excellent!!

    Here’s some more stories from Dani:

    eeeeeeeee Spielplatz… eeeeeeee nene…. eeeeeeeee mama…. eeeeeeeequart…eeeeeeeeeee moto.. eeeeee wauwau…..bellt

    Translation (telling papi, that we were on the playground, there was another (or several boys) with his momy, then we went on our daly route to see the go cart parked in the neighbourhood and the motorbikes beside it. Then on our way home we passed the barking dog.

    eee nene…eeee pie… eeee cae…. eee buumm (hitting his head with his hand)

    Translation: I’ve stepped besides, fallen from the chair and hit my head.

    Some weeks ago, my brother and sister in law were here for one week. The’re a young (modern) spanish couple. Dani learnt two words from them: “cae” (fall down) and “espera” (wait!) Does this make you think about the spanish attitude towards children?

  5. Love this! I can’t wait to hear what comes out of my 15-month son’s mouth when he finally decides to start talking! So far, he seems to understand quite a bit in both English and Spanish (which I speak to him as a non-native speaker), so it will be interesting:-)

  6. It’s really fun to read your writing, not just because I have a 23 month old who we are raising in German and English, but because your style is classy, funny, and easy to read. It gives me great ideas for my blog, in regards to how to present stories AND the value in sharing the simple things.
    Look forward to reading more down the road! Thanks for sharing!

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