World of Words

Next week, Ohad and me are flying to Greece for a week. Alone. :-)

My mother is arriving tomorrow and will stay with Alva for the time we are gone. I have a 100% trust in her for handling this. There is only one "but" in this story: my mom does not speak hebrew. It is a very strange thing...think for a second about the fact that your mother and your child would speak different languages and that they could have communication problems...Weird and not that fun.

We are raising Alva with 3 languages. Ohad speaks only hebrew with Alva, I speak french and between us Ohad and me mostly speak english, so that Alva hears english quite a lot as well.

Alva started speaking his first words quite early and like most children speaking hebrew, his first word was abba (dad). His language skills quickly got better and more and more hebrew words were added to his list. "ima" (mom), "dai" (stop it), "lom" (shalom), ect...but no french word, not even one. I heard stories from parents that are raising their children bilingual that are telling me that the kids are choosing one language and although they do understand both, the language of the mother and the language of the father they just answer to both parents in the same language. I was quite scared that this might happen to our family as well. The implications of this would have been be quite sad to me. It would have meant that my whole family would never be able to understand what Alva is saying unless they learn hebrew.

Then, one day, Alva said "ballon" (ball). And then he said "voilà" (there it is) and "douche" (shower). l was so happy! Finally some french!

I have the feeling that the main goal of Alva's brain these days is to learn new words. For about two weeks now, the pace of learning new ones got much faster. I knew that it was essential for my mom to be able to understand at least a part of the words Alva is saying. That's why i spend the last days noting down the ones he uses most. I then converted the words into a small graph. The more often Alva uses the word, the bigger the font. Green word-bubbles are for hebrew words (transliterated so my mom can read them), red word-bubbles are for french words and blue word-bubbles are for the words that can be counted to neither of the languages. I also tried to order them more or less according to topics. 

Currently he is learning about 3-5 new words every day (he integrates them into his vocabulary and then uses them on a regular basis). It starts to be hard to keep track. From all the words he uses (not all are in this graph), about 70% are hebrew, about 25% are french and about 5% can not be attributed to any language, like "oioioi"(when something is broken), "haouhaou"(for the barking of the dog), ect. 

His french vocabulary is more developed than the hebrew one for certain topics. Most of the words related to bathing time are in french because that is one of the things that he almost essentially does with me...on the other hand, most of the verbs and actions are in hebrew because at kindergarden, everything is in hebrew.

The fact that i like best in this little map: it's kind of a representation of my son's world. The most important word is definitely "ani", which means "me" or "i" in hebrew but Alva uses it to mark that something is his or that he wants to do something on his own (by "something" i mean about everything). Then, apart from "abba" and "ima" (mom and dad), Alva's world seems to be made up mostly of "glida" and "uga" (ice cream and cake) followed by "iam", "maim" and "naala" (sea, water and shoes)...If you ask me...quite a perfect world!


Hebrew words: Top 1 word: "Ani"=me,i   Hebrew words by topics: (bathing time): "maim"=water / "cham"=hot / "maka"=wound, scratch or any tiny little blue spot / "kar"=cold   (the body): "puk"=fart / "bulbul"=genitals / "ad" (iad)=hand / "naim" (enaim)=eyes / "tzizi"=breast   (food): "glida"=ice cream / "uga"=cake / "buk"=bottle, mostly for his milk bottle / "nana" (banana)=banana / "tut"=strawberry / "pip"(kapit)=spoon   (animals): "dubi"=bear or teddybear / "chitul" (chatul)=cat / "pilpilon"=elephant / "dagim"=fishes / "sus"=horse /"a.i.e"(ariye)=lion  (environement and objects): "naala"=shoes / "ipur" (sipur)=story or book / "makom"=place / "bait"=house or home / "delet"=door / "tit"(tik)=bag / "oto"=car / "kisse"=chair / "ita"(mita)=bed / "gan"=kindergarden   (nature): "iam"=sea / "chol"=sand / "etz"=tree / "tziz"=plant / "ruach"=wind   (actions, verbs and small words): "ma"=what / "lo"=no or not / "en"=there is no / "dai"=stop it / "ze"=this / "et ze"=this here / "odd"=more / "kchi"=take (female form) / "ken"=yes / "boi"=come (female form) / "bo"=come (male form) / "po"=here / "ma ze"=what is this / "lo roze"=i don't want (male form) / "makara"=what happenend / "nimar" (nigmar)=it's finished / "hine"=here it is / "lo ved" (lo oved)=it doesn't work / "naim"=nice / "kach"=take (male form) / "taim"=tasty / "lo taim"=not tasty / "sham"=there / "toda"=thanks / "mala" (lemala)= up or up there / "boche"=cries (male form) / "chol" (le echol)=to eat

Neutral words by topics: (family and friends): "Ima"=mom / "abba"=dad / "Avi"=grandpa Avi / "Saata"(Safta)=grandma Rita / "Lilu"=Lilu (our dog) / "Guy", "Shira" and "Lia"=Alva's cousins / "Coco"=Aunt Coco / "Hedi" (Heidi)= grandma Heidi / "Aoua" (Alva) / "Iuval", "Bar", "Nela" (Daniela), "Lucie", "Loulou" (Ayala), "Ila", "Nel" (Daniel), "Alice", "Maia"=Alva's friends from kindergarden   (the body): "caca" "pipi"=no need to explain  (animals): "aouaou"=sound of dog barking  (actions, verbs and small words): "oioioi"=word for anything broken, misplaced or bad

French words by topics: (bathing time): "douche"=shower / "froid"=cold / "boul"(bulles)=bubbles / "bobo"=wound, scratch or any tiny little blue spot / "mouillé"=wet  (the body): "bouche"=mouth / "tête"=head / "cou"=neck    (food): "mank" (mangue)=mango / "pain"=bread / "pom" (pomme)=apple    (environement and objects): "oulou" (vélo)=bicycle / "balon"(ballon)=ball / "crème"=cream or sunscreen / "pote" (porte)=door     (actions, verbs and small words): "voilà"=here is / "ici"=here / "tour"(tourne)=turn / "meci" (merci)=thanks