Monday 23 June 2008

Here's to Chaos & Complexity!

So there is Lilia, sitting in a storage box. She has just emptied it, climbed into it, and wants Souad to cover her with toys. So she says:

"tekkedri decke-moi up?"

Now that's a 4-word phrase containing a whopping 4 different languages!

She started with an arabic word, probably because a) she was talking to Souad, and b) "tekkedri" is a lot shorter than "can you please" or "would you please".

For the next word, she switched to German. We think she switched to German because I use the words "zudecken" and "Decke" ("blanket") more often than Souad. "Zudecken" is a verb that means "to cover up", "to blanket" or "to tuck someone in". As usual in German, certain types of phrases are built by detaching the prefix ("zu") and placing it at the very end of the sentence. So, Lilia applied German grammar and detached the prefix.

She then switched to French in order to refer to herself. She probably did this because she was talking to Souad.

Finally, she finished the sentence the German way, by adding the prefix. Except she said it in English, for whatever reason. Note that she did use the correct prefix!

This is by far the most complex phrase she has ever built. The sheer complexity of it is mind boggling. Why did she not say everything in Arabic or French? What is going on in that little head of hers?

Her life is going to be so interesting! In a good way, of course.


  1. Wow! That is so very cool. And I love the fact that she can use all four languages at the same time so nonchalantly and that she can make herself understood.

  2. wow, that is something! 4 languages all used correctly in one sentence. She obviously feels very comfortable with all of them.


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