Monday, 18 January 2010

A new hybrid language is born!

Being Algerian, I mix Arabic and French as standard practice. Algerian is a kind of pidgin Arabic, with French verbs conjugated in Arabic, and French nouns roughly "arabised".

BK1 speaks this hybrid language, and further hybridises it by adding English words and expressions.

A new dimension has appeared recently. BK1 speaks Arabic/French with BK2, I'd say about 90% of  the time. The remaining 10% is German, when the girls are with their dad and I am not around. Now BK1 has invented the Arabic/German hybrid in sentences such as: "T'habbi Taqraï (a) Buch(g)?" (do you want to read a book?) or "T'habbi taqqaadi fouk (a) Schoss(g)?" (do you want to sit on my knees?).

This happens when BK2  utters the words "Buch" and "Schoss", and BK1 reprises them in their conversation which is usually in Arabic. Now why does BK1 not translate the German words into Arabic or French? Is it because of the limitations of her vocabulary in these two languages? Is it because she is used to hybridising Arabic with French and/or English, so adding German to the equation is natural to her?

Will the girls ever speak Arabic properly, with minimal mixing? Only time will tell, and these are early days.