Our Unschooling Adventure - which officially started in Lowell in the Fall of 2005 - now continues in Berlin.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Supriya's Marathi

Manisha and I grew up in India speaking Marathi (mur-RAH-tee), although these days we speak mostly English at home with Marathi words (mostly nouns) thrown in, kind of like Spanglish.Supriya used to be fluent in Marathi until she was about 2 1/2. Then - practically overnight - she gave it up and started using exclusively English. But Supriya is familiar with the cadence of the language, and, it turns out, she knows a fair bit of the language too, even though she does not speak it.

This past January we were in India for a month visiting our families in Pune and Nagpur. Being very extroverted and friendly Supriya made a lot of friends on her own, even though she could not speak Marathi. She has high linguistic intelligence and she picked up a lot of Marathi in that stay. Last night we were driving to a friend's house when Manisha pointed to a house and asked me in Marathi, "That's a new house, isn't it?" I replied back in Marathi, "Yes, relatively speaking..." Supriya jumped in with, "Where is the new house?" We did not expect her to follow the conversation and we were pleasantly surprised, and we told her so.

So she threw us a challenge, "Say a word in Marathi and I'll tell you what it means." We went back and forth a number of times (rain, peacock, cat, dog, car, chair, clothes, etc.). I was impressed that she has retained all these words. She can also count up to ten in Marathi.

Another funny incident happened a couple of weeks ago. Manisha was trying to put Aseem to sleep and she wanted to tell Supriya to go do something by herself. Knowing that Aseem's Marathi is very weak, she used it to communicate with Supriya. Supriya was thrilled -- their very own secret code that Aseem could not understand! That was very cool.

Manisha and I are glad Supriya is bilingual, even though we did not plan it that way. We may be speaking more Marathi at home to build on that...


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