Monday, January 25, 2010

"And second-a-ball..."

I almost never correct my kids when they make grammar mistakes or other language errors. That's probably wrong of me, but I just think it's so cute when they come up with their own words and grammar -- like the word cracre-de-paix, which they invented long ago, but still use sometimes. They also say "virgule" instead of "vehicle" (virgules are a very important subject of conversation at our house). Sure, I could correct them, but they'll figure it out eventually.

One strange mistake that Leo makes is that he essentially doesn't use pronouns to distinguish people by gender. In Leo's world, everyone is he/his/him -- even people he clearly knows are female. Originally he was referring to everyone as she/her, but I imagine that he made the switch after male companions complained. I'd chalk it up to his bilingualism, but he makes the exact same error in both languages. (There are other cases where he'll translate literally from one language to the other, and it doesn't quite work...)

I just saw a new article on the benefits of bilingualism (hat tip too many tribbles). Whether it's beneficial or not, it's certainly cute. Remember the three dolls from the other day? Well, Leo decided that Mimi's name in French is "Moi-Moi." There's a certain logic to that. Then they decided that Jack-Jack and Incredible should have French names as well: "Jacques-Jacques" and "Incroyable." :D


Varina said...

For what it's worth, second language acquisition researchers believe its best to only correct grammatical or word mistakes of learners when they are not understandable. If you, and any reasonable person, understand what the kid means you are supposed to just leave it and model correct usage. The theory is that we pick up language by modeling more than formal learning (like being corrected) anyway.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Sabayon!!!

That's cool. I'd actually read that somewhere, but was worried that perhaps it was just wishful thinking on my part because I'd rather have them figure it out by modeling (instead of correcting them).

Craig said...

Yeah, the evidence shows that adult correction of a child's incorrect grammar doesn't do any good. They'll acquire the rules when they do, and you can't speed up the process - this is regardless of whether kids are bi- or monolingual.

When adults learn a second language though, correction can be helpful, but for kids, it's pretty much useless, except, as Sabayon noted, when intelligibility/comprehension is compromised.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Craig!!!

That's cool -- then I guess I'm not doing it wrong after all.

Lars Larson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
trytrytri said...

I love the line from the movie "Hoodwinked" when the wolf says to the Squirrel, "As God is my witness, you will learn how to speak!"

Since my two boys know all of the lines from this movie they LOVE it when I follow their grammatical mistakes by reciting this line. I makes them laugh and takes away the notion that I am actually correcting them.