Hezbollah, the Cumin-timer, and the Box

At the Singapore airport last Sunday. We had South-Indian food for lunch, and North-Indian for dinner. I also got four Rasgulla, a Bengali paneer (home-made cottage cheese) based dessert.

image

Me: Do you want to try this Leila? It’s called Rasgulla. I used to eat a lot of this when I was little. Really yummy.

Leila: Did you made the Hezbollah by yourself when you was little?

Me: WHAT? No Nani (grandma) used to make it for us a lot. Here, you want to try the rasgulla?

Leila: Yes, I want one Hezbollah.

image

——-

Me: Leila is the humidifier on? Can you check please.
Leila: Yes mum, the cumin-timer is on.
Me: It’s a hu-mi-di-fi-er.
Leila: Difier.

——-

Maher: Vous voulez aller a Starbuck avec moi, les gars? Comme ca on laisse maman faire son “practice”?

Leila: Starbox. C’est un “box” papa.

Me: Come on guys, it’s Starbucks.

Leila looking at me from the corner of her eyes: Ok papa, let’s go to Star BOX.

image

——

How to Make Rasgulla: Indian Dessert Recipe

Frenglish

“We speak Frenglish,” Rahul and Leila say as they squeal with laughter at the discovery of this new “word”.

They often use both French and English words in their sentences. Although we are a OPOL (One Person One Language) family, and are pretty consistent with it, the kids are now mixing up both French and English words in the same sentence.

Sometimes, they even use French sentence structure in English, like Maher does when he speaks English. I don’t remember what is correct anymore myself.

Frenglish –
“Papa is travailling.”

“I am cherching the ball.”

“Can you leve up your arms.”

“I want to aller to the pont now.”

“Can you go avec moi?”

“Who c’est ca?”

And then Rahul hesitated with “what” in the two languages.

Quat?”

A Bilingual Family Shifts Easily Between Languages
Bilingual Brains are Better
Myths About Bilingual Children
Montreal Comedian Sugar Sammy on Multilingualism
Franglais

Papa speaks Francais

Early one morning a couple of weeks ago.

Leila: Where’s papa?

Me: He’s on a plane, going to Houston, in America.

Rahul: Like the pilgrims?

Me: Yah, to America like the pilgrims. But he’s on a plane, not a boat, so he’ll be there by tomorrow.

Leila: Can you be papa?

Me: What do you mean can I be papa?

Leila: Papa talks French. You talk French.

Me: Woah. Oh. Tu veux que je parle en Francais avec vous?

They both look up at me, eyes gleaming. And smile.

Rahul: Papa talks Francais.

Me: D’accord, on peut parler en Francais.

Leila: Papa. Papa, I want to go to Etats Unis.

Me: On va aller aux Etats Unis bientot cherie. T’en fait pas…..

(Ten minutes of French later)

Me: Ok guys, come on, let’s go downstairs for breakfast.

Leila: Nooooo, you are papaaaa…you talk French.

Me: Ah, oui. J’ai oublie.

Rahul: No talk Francais mama. Talk Anglais. Waaaa. You are mama now.

Translating Bullshit into Bullshit

Rahul and Leila chopping play dough vegetables.

Maher: Qu’est ce que tu cuisine Leila?

Leila: Uhhh, I’m cooking mothika.

Maher: Ah bon. C’est quoi “mothika”?

Leila: Papa, ummm, en francais c’est lita.