Friday, November 5, 2010

Listening to my child speak

I still get a strange thrill listening to my child speak English. Since I’ve never communicated with him in English, it’s like listening to him speak a foreign language. For a long time, he spoke it with an accent and he spoke it more hesitantly, with less skill than in Spanish.

But now he’s caught up and seems to be quite fluent in both languages. I wonder what it is that captivates me so, given that I speak English most of the day.

I think it’s the knowledge that none of his English comes from me. Knowing that I haven’t taught him a word in English makes me recognize that every single word he utters, every construction he puts together, comes from a source other than me. That despite how important I am in his life, at this young age, he’s capable of picking up an entire language without my participation. If he can do that, before the age of 3, I just imagine how much else he is soaking in from the world around him. The influences are small, but they accumulate and I see the massive effect in his fluency. He is already a part of the wider world.

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