How will DD ever figure out pronouns? (OPOL with 2 minority languages) - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-28-2011, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So DD is 22 months old and hears different minority languages from mom and dad.  (We don't speak each others' minority languages, and communicate with each other in English, which is our community language.)

 

Understandably, she thinks 'you' is another word for  'DD,' and 'I/me' means the addressee (either mom or dad).  So if she wants to come with us, she'll say, "You come!" (thumping her chest), and if she wants me to do something she'll say, "I do it!" (pointing at me). Honestly it's driving me a little batty.  DH explains it to her every time.  I'm too lazy though, I know what she means and I just respond accordingly.

 

I can't imagine she is ever going to figure this out since she rarely hears conversation between adults in either minority language.  (We are geographically distant from both our birth families.)

 

How does this situation turn out, does anybody know?  Will she just have to figure it out in English eventually, and then we'll explain that it's the same idea in the minority languages?

How long is this likely to take? 

 

 


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Old 03-28-2011, 08:50 PM
 
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I think this is quite normal language development, even for mono-lingual kids. I remember my younger sibs as toddlers saying "Carry you! Carry you!" when they wanted to be carried, because they were   used to hearing someone say something along the lines of "Do you want me to carry you?"

 

I think my kids went through it a bit. Some people try to avoid pronouns for a while and use names "You want Mama to change LO's nappy?" But using the third person all the time can feel stilted and weird.

 

I suspect she'll start to get better at it as time goes on. There is another thread on mothering about it. http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/760729/language-acquisition-when-did-your-toddler-get-pronouns

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Old 03-28-2011, 09:48 PM
 
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Pronouns are tough, and I know that my mono-lingual son got them confused until around 3-4 years old.  At 22 months, it's not uncommon for kids to not even know pronouns yet.

 

Your daughter will figure it out.  It may take a while, just as it does for all children - just continue modeling the correct usage and she'll get the hang of it.

 

My daughter is 23 months and says You, Me, and Mine, accurately most of the time but not always.  I don't think she even says "I" yet, come to think of it.


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Old 03-29-2011, 10:25 AM
 
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That's funny! 

 

Remember that this is a problem with monolingual children. Especially confusing if the other languages use pronouns differently. 

 

She'll figure it out, later than her monolingual peers perhaps but then you'll run into problems with article, reflexive verbs, etc. 

 

They don't translate in their heads but you will hear the logic carried over from one language into the weaker ones. For example, "I have X years" vs. "I am..." 

 

I wouldn't go overly crazy with it but you might want to do some role-play with dolls, or something. Have the baby doll ask "Carry me" and the mom doll says "Yes, I'll carry YOU". She's still young though. I would keep this in mind for later on...

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Old 04-04-2011, 08:35 AM
 
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Don't worry! I do OPOL with DS and was concerned about this as well. However, when he was a little older than your LO we visited family in my native country and in hearing other children his age and talking to his parents, realized that he was completely on target as far as language development in the minority language. Now at 3.5 he is still sorting out pronouns but usually gets them right and often corrects himself as well. I think we get extra "practice" in because of all the pretend play we do, which means that sometimes he is pretending to be a female character or I am a male character and I can model how the pronouns change (because the language we speak has fem. and masc.). In my situation, I do have some family nearby so he does hear adult conversation regularly in the (right now) minority language. Is there any way you could speak with family over Skype? That might be a nice way for your LO to hear adults conversing. How about music, books, DVDs - when you sing, read, and interact over these together, they demonstrate different usages than you might get in everyday speech with one another.


 

 

 


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Old 04-04-2011, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies everyone.  The link to the toddler thread was helpful, it's interesting to see how different everyone's kids are and what different phases they go through in figuring out pronouns.

 

I do think a visit to the 'homeland' is in order and will be a huge help (more for my sanity than DD's language development really!), we are trying to figure that out for this year or next.  I might try the roleplay thing too if this goes on too long, but it's probably too early to make an issue out of it yet.


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