Tag Archives: Toddler Speech

And She Speaks! 喋った!

Mila at 15 months is picking up new words every day.  I spoke (or tried anyways) a lot more Japanese with her and was in a more Japanese speaking environment so I was really, really hoping her first words would be Japanese.  I guess “Mama”, “Papa” (Pop-Pop), and “bye bye”  are kind of Japanese… I’ll take it.  That was followed by “fish” (feeeesh), “please” (pu-liiiiiiiiize), and “peace” (peeeeesh).  Well, I guess I’ll count “peace” as “Japanese.” If you’ve noticed, her words are all “eeeeesh” and they all sound the same to everyone else but me.  My biggest issue is that I’ve fallen back into that “please” trap again.  It’s just so much easier to point at a water bottle and say “Pu-liiiiize” than “Omizu kudasai” in Japanese.  Again, there are easier Japanese words to ask for something, “Choudai” or “Hoshii” but the words are not really part of my vocabulary since it’s more in line with “Gimme” or “I want”, which I’m trying to get rid of in Nina’s speech.

Oh well, she’s starting to talk, it’s a fascinating time. I know, which language shows up first doesn’t mean much in the end, but I was trying to boost her Japanese earlier than I did with Nina, so I’m having a bit of a FAIL moment, that’s all.

The other thing is that Japanese is a very greeting heavy language.  There’s no universal greeting like “Hi” and “Bye”. Each word tends to also have more syllables.

i-tte-ki-ma-su* (5) vs. Bye (1)
ta-da-i-ma** (4) vs. I’m home (2)
ko-ro-n-ja-tta (5)  vs. I fell down (3)
o-ka-e-ri-na-sa-i*** (7) vs. Hi (1)
a-ri-ga-tou (4) vs. Thanks (1)

*greeting devoted to announcing when you are leaving your own home

**greeting devoted to announcing to your family that you are home

***greeting devoted to welcoming a family member’s return home

…..how many greetings can one remember in their first two years of life!?

I have the feeling she’s saying these words, I just can’t understand them since her mouth can’t enunciate each sound. If she has a choice of saying 1 or 2 syllable words in English, obviously, she will use them first.

She’s saying plenty of English words:  “shoes”, “nana” (banana), “turtles”, “bubbles”, “bag-bag” (backpack), “mine”, “daddy”, “wa-wa” (shower), “more”…..and the infamous “I want”

Exciting times ahead!


後は基本英語 Fish (feeeesh), Please (Pu-liiiiiiiiize)と Peace(peeeeesh)ま、ピースも日本語って事にしちゃえ。他人が聞いたらシイイイイイとしか聞こえないんだけどね。親にはその僅かな差が分るんだけども。




いってきます (5音) vs. Bye (1音)
ただいま(4音) vs. I’m home (2音)
おかえりなさい (7音) vs. Hi (1音)
ありがとう (4音) vs. Thanks (1音)

英語は他にも結構出てきてます、shoes, nana (banana), turtles, bubbles, bag-bag (Backpack), mine, daddy, wa-wa (shower), more…..そして、恐怖の “I want” きたよ~。これ嫌なんだよ~。



Who’s Yo Mama

It all started when Nina came home from school one day.  She was playing by herself, singing and laughing. Suddenly, I notice that she’s singing “Yo Mama~~, Yo Mama~~.” I look up and thought, dude, did my 2 year old just sing a Yo Mama joke with me in the room? Where would she pick that up from?  No one in the house makes them, we don’t watch TV. I haven’t even seen a Yo Mama youtube video since I’ve been here, OK, I haven’t watched one for years before that.  I pull Nina aside, give her a short lecture that it’s not a nice thing to say.  She says, “I learn at school.” I’m thinking, Really?  Singaporean Toddlers make Yo Mama jokes? Whatever, no point in questioning her further.

It continues for weeks.  I thought it was a phase, but it’s going longer than my liking.  I know she doesn’t get it, but are the teachers in the day care center addressing this? Is this start of bullying?  OH yeah, paranoid parent thought process kicks in.

So the next day when I go pick Nina up, I’m determined to talk to the teachers.  I approach the door.  I hear it.

“Yo Mama, Yo Baba, Yo Mei Mei”….. HUH?

Yup, it’s their Mandarin class.

They are not saying “Yo”, though that’s what I heard out of my toddler.  They are saying “Wo” or 我. I, me, in this case, “My” Mama.  I think it’s technically 我的妈妈 or Wo De Mama, but 2 year olds don’t necessary bother with the technicalities.

Nina’s teacher, or Lao Shi, pokes her head out and says “Hello, Nina Mommy, are you picking her up?”

Yes I am.  And I promise to leave my daughter alone when she’s practicing her Chinese.   I cracked up at my paranoid self and said sorry to Nina for scolding her.  She didn’t get it and if she ever asks me what I was talking about, I’m showing her this.


Parental Rant END.