Tuesday, 20 April 2010

What defines the language of a sentence

"Ki ngetty even bigger". This is supposed to be Arabic for "When I get even bigger". Notice the percentage of Arabic in the original sentence. Hardly a quarter. It is worth noting that Babel Father still could not make out what she really meant.

This is a definite trend in the way BK1 (who was 5 in March) speaks to me, a trend that has been going from strength to strength since she started school last September. She would basically use the Arabic pronoun, then conjugate and modify English verbs and adjectives in Arabic, as in the original example. This in her mind produces an acceptable Arabic sentence. I try to insist that she use more Arabic words, and not simply "Arabicise" English sentences. But, how can I blame her for this when I do exactly the same thing with Arabic and French...

Over the 2-week Easter break, there was noticeable improvement, in that she used more orthodox Arabic phrase constructions. This was brought about by more time with me, and meeting our Algerian friends more often than during term time.