Friday, February 25, 2011

E for English

It's interesting to watch Puttachi grappling with the strange language that English is. When she started school in June, she knew next to no English. Now, she can understand quite a bit, and can carry on decent communication with someone entirely in English. She speaks only in the simple present tense, and with terrible grammar, of course.

I don't initiate conversations with her in English - it doesn't come naturally to me. But if she does, and she does it frequently, I encourage her, and join in her conversation. For her, English is something that is spoken in a school situation, so she says, "You are my ma'am, so let's speak in English now." If she suddenly gets stuck, doesn't find a word in English, she says, "Ok, now you are the Kannada ma'am, so I will tell only this in Kannada, then you become English ma'am again, then we will speak in English again."


A few days ago, we had a fun session - when I told her that one who runs is called a runner, one who speaks is called a speaker, and so on.

After that, she came up with hilarious things like - one with a tail is a tailor, one who comes late is later, one who docts is a doctor....I don't know how much of it she understood herself and how much of it she picked up from my reactions, but we had this wonderful half an hour laughing our guts out.


She: Y for uniform.
Me: It is U for Uniform. U-Uniform!
She: No, it is Y for uniform. Y for yellow, Y for Yak, so Y for uniform.
Me: Hmph. Makes sense.


She: There are many mouses there.
Me: Mice, not mouse. Funny, isn't it? In English, for many mouse, you say mice, not mouses.
She: (Frowns) You all can say mice. I will say mouses. *Stalks off*


Since she is so crazy about the alphabet, just to see how far she would participate, I introduced Word-building to her. I say a word, you say a word with the last letter of my word, and so on. She hasn't been taught to spell yet, but she latched on to the concept, and was enthusiastic.

She: Ok Amma, you start with A.
Me: A for Ant. What does it end with?
She: Ant... anttt... tt.. tt. T! T for Tall
Me: Good. What does it end with?
She: Tallll...lll. L!
Me: Correct. L for Late.
She: Amma, when I get L, I will say L for Lollipop.
Me: Sure. Now, what does Late end with?
She: Late.. ttt...ttt..... T!
Me: (She is actually playing syllable-building - she doesn't know how to spell, like I said.) Ok. T for?
She: T for Tree.
Me: So I have to think of a word with?
She: Treee... Tr... Trrrr....... Amma, I don't know. Tr? You can say Tractor.
Me: (How logical!) Actually ends with E, you see? Treeeeeee. E.
She: E for L
Me: What?
She: E for L, as in LMNOP. El, El. (She had once also said EL (L) for Elephant)
Me: Ah! But that's not a word!
She: Let's play some other game.

But she keeps coming back twice a day to want to play this game. I can see the future, once she starts to spell. Hours and hours and hours of word building....*shudder*


Anonymous said...

I wish I will have a daughter like Puttachi

snippetsnscribbles said...

hahahahha :D Puttachi stories are really interesting :D

I loved the 'Tr' part :D: :D How so logical is that !

Anonymous said...

Oh..being so used to the English language I guess we take all those little quirks for granted.. It takes a beginner to point out what a flawed language it really is. A very entertaing post. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Keep 'em coming. And yes.. Your daughter is the cutest :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Shruthi, there is more to this than what we see here. What you do with your child is very innovative..English is the worst language phonetically and it is interesting to see that firsthand from Puttachi's eyes/ears.

PeeVee said...

Haw haw :) I like E for El :D

starry eyed said...

Y is for uniform, of course! Puttachi is bang on! Loved this post!

Revati Upadhya said...

shruthi, shes one smart cookie, and i can see that oozing in every single post :)

Sumana said...

Hi...Nice blog..
Will make it a point to read regularly..
Cute puttachi :)

Swati said...

hahah..I shd keep my son away from Puttachi :) If he gets influenced by her logic...I am gone :D

Veena Shivanna said...

Already playing the SCRABBLE game orally. Lovely! All easy methods Prof..
That Mouse and Mice, I had infact asked my english teacher when she taught me singluar plural in my class (4th or 5th I think)..
Show this song from Pancharangi, there is song with all words ending gaLu gaLu..PuTTachi would love it.

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