say it in Spanish!

October 21, 2009 at 11:53 pm (pieces of me, random Puffs)

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

- Cardinal Ximénez, as played by Michael Palin
 (Monty Python’s Flying Circus)
Kids are fast learners. ‘Specially little ones. Young children can learn multiple languages like it ain’t no thang – or so I’ve read. Since babies begin life as a blank slate, their little brains are designed to absorb everything they see and hear. Learning two or three languages isn’t really adding too much more to the everything they’re already learning – so when properly instructed, they do! This is just another one of the amazing super-powers that children under the age of five are in possession of – more on infantile super-powers later. But the thing about kids is that, although they learn from everything they come in contact with, they learn best from their family. . .
My Puff is precocious, and I’m sure she’d be bi-lingual if we spoke multiple languages in our home. But we don’t. . . However, nearly every ‘educational’ television show (along with several toys we no longer own) insist on attempting to teach her Spanish. Which drives me CRAZY! Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Spaniards, Mexicans, or Florida (*wink* for my non-Spanish-speaking Floridian friends), and I guess the Spanish language is okay. *shrug* I know its commonly spoken in many parts of the U.S. – but it isn’t here. To be honest, if T learns a second language, I’d rather it be my mother’s native Italian, so she could converse with various family members. Or Japanese, so she could translate my favorite anime. Spanish means nothing to me. I don’t speak it, and I doubt I ever will.
Again, I don’t want anyone to take this the wrong way. If T learned Spanish, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Anything that enlightens my kid’s mind is swell in my book. It’s just that. . . well, she needs an actual living teacher. Puff learns things from the TV all the time, but Spanish?! Isn’t that a bit much to expect? My daughter’s television time is limited to about an hour a day at most, so maybe thats part of the problem. . . I just don’t think that Dora the Explorer (and all the others) is getting her point through when she insists on repeating every word she utters again – in Spanish. Why do I think this?
Because of conversations like this:

T is sitting on her daddy’s lap, counting her fingers (apparently she has 12?)

Dad puts up a couple of his own digits for her to number. . .

D: How many fingers am I holding up?

T: TWO! . . . in Spanish! *beams proudly*

I want to be perfectly clear. T did NOT say “dos,” which I believe is the Spanish word for ‘two.’ she said “TWO!. . .in Spanish!”
And this isn’t the first time that she’s said things “in Spanish.” And yeah, its cute! It’s funny. . .but she’s obviously isn’t getting it, and I really wish that PBS and NickJR would stick to trying to teach my kid things in English! I’d much rather her favorite television characters offered her an english synonym for the word, rather than repeating the same one in another language entirely.
If I wanted her to learn Spanish, I would find someone to teach her – or let her watch her cartoons on the Spanish network.
Just my two cents. . . for what they’re worth!

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