Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Bilingual brain oddity

Bilingual brain oddity

Sterling's brain learning two languages is so fun to observe. He asks the following questions just about every day:

"Do we speak Finnish?"

"Why do we not speak Finnish [at home]?

"Why do they not speak English at päiväkoti?"

"Who doesn't speak Finnish?" (The correct answer here is to start listing our relatives back in the US.) Then, "why doesn't ____ speak Finnish?"

This summer after we came back from the US and he went back to päiväkoti, it took him a few days to get back into the Finnish language. One day when we went to pick him up, his teachers said that he told them he didn't speak Finnish.

And then there's the way his brain tries to figure out the relationships between Finnish words and English words. Every once in a while, a Finnish word sounds similar to the English one, but with an "ee" sound on the end. Timantti is diamond, for example (kind of like "diamond-ee"). In the past, Sterling has tried to make an English word Finnish by adding that sound on the end - he once asked to do something "again-ee."

Yesterday we were getting ready to go camping and I said that I had bought some glögi to warm up and drink by the fire. He thought for a few moments and then said, "Mama, what is glog?" It took me a while to figure out that 1. he had decided glögi was the Finnish word (ended in ee sound; weird ö vowel); 2. and then he had back-formed a hypothetical English word (glog) by taking away the ee sound. GLOG. Makes sense, doesn't it?

And that's a peek inside Sterling's bilingual brain!

October 20th, outsourced

Sex education in Finland