The Interpreter

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A few weeks ago, I posted about how my two year old is a crazy little chatterbox.  Yes, it can get mildly annoying, but I adore her sweet voice.  What I appreciate most is that her non-stop chatter is all in Spanish.  I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that all my efforts to raise her bilingual are paying off.  I started this bilingual journey by just speaking to my little newborn in Spanish. For months she understood everything and responded to me as I spoke to her in Español, but it took what felt like forever to hear her take command of the language. 

But when she turned a year and a half, she realy began to engage in Spanish—conversing, questioning, exploring. Now, I marvel at how she just pulls words out of thin air; words I haven't used in a long time, words I've read in a book once or twice, words I don't even remember speaking! She'll pause and think, reaching back into her memory and retrieve the perfect word for something.  The latest development is her ability to distinguish between Spanish and English.

Dessa will often times say something in English to me. A lot of folks say the best way to encourage her to speak in Spanish is to pretend I don't understand until she repeats herself in Spanish.  I don't disagree with this method but I'm a girl who likes options. I read somewhere up on another good tactic is to say, "Si, papi dice 'dog'.  Mami dice 'perro'."  It's quite simple and relatively genius!  So I've been employing the play dumb and the papi/mami dice tactic ever since.  Now at 2.5 years old, she is using "papi/mami dice" all by herself.  I can't tell you how many times in a day she chimes in with, "Mami dice 'x', papi dice 'x'."  Or she'll ask whoever she's with how mami or papi would say a word.

Papi would say, "Very cool!"  Mami dice, "Chevere!"

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About this author

Mariela Rosario,

I'm a raging opinionista and I love to share my ramblings on everything from pop culture to food to stuff that makes me laugh & cry! I've worked in all types of media (TV, film, print) and was previously the online editor at Latina magazine before joining Mamás Latinas. On most nights you can find me working my way through my library of cookbooks or playing with my puppy Lola (my only child so far). I have a wonderful hubby who shares my passion for any and all kinds of travel. Together, we've formed a semi-professional wine drinking team.

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