The bilingual vocabulary of a toddler.
Time flies and Sophia grows bigger and bigger. So does her vocabulary. She is two years old now. In fact, two years, three months, two weeks and three days to be exact, in case you desire a more detailed reference.
As we raise Sophia to be bilingual, actually even trilingual, her ability to speak develops a lot slower than most toddlers her age and less. That’s the same reason we picked a kindergarten that doesn’t see her bilingual vocabulary as a negative.
Are we worried?
You might call it a little challenging to teach her perfect Dutch while we speak Spanish at home, in reality it doesn’t really matter. She is still little and I know she will speak Dutch and Spanish fluently by the time she will be four and ready for school. For now it’s just really fun to see which words – in which language – she picks from all the things she hears. Some words she knew in Dutch, she even switches to the English or Spanish version.
Often I find myself acting like her personal interpreter. At kindergarten, I explain frequent used words in advance. Or when in company, I try to translate whatever she says to the people that are with us. Try, as it’s not always clear and most of the time it’s actually even a waterfall of non-existent words. I think. How can we ever be sure, when it sounds like a whole bunch of nothing?
But: when she keeps repeating a specific word, we actually do try to understand and translate it into something understandable. Nothing as annoying when nobody understands you, while you’re trying to make something clear. Right?
See the difference for yourself
My last and only blog post on Sophia’s bilingual vocabulary, was in January this year, which can be found here. As you can imagine, a lot has changed and many words have been added. I think it’s fun to share them with you, now that I still can. Because, who knows. We might wake up one day soon with Sophia speaking clearly and fluently.
This blog post could also help as a guide for anyone that sometimes communicates with Sophia. Again, I don’t know for how long, as she changes her vocabulary often. And every time I notice she improved, or switched to another language I feel as proud as it can get.
Again, I’m not worried at all, as she is clearly learning and trying to figure out three languages at the same time. So many different people saying something different, to the exact same thing. Who wouldn’t be confused? I choose to share Sophia’s vocabulary list, because I think a toddler developing herself trilingual is a very beautiful thing to witness.
Nice For Later
Last but not least, it will serve as a reminder. Hence, I want to be able to read back when she is older, also maybe even show her this list one day. They grow up way too quick and we forget way too quick how things were before our children developed something new.
Here we go!
Sophia’s Bilingual Vocabulary
- Buenas Noches: bonsnoches!
- Goodmorning: goemorgon!
- Hello: ‘allo!
- Uncle Maurice: ome Lies.
- Sit: zitten! (this was siiiis until a short while ago).
- Telephone: fono (from the Spanish word telefono).
- Dance: ante.
- Beautiful: mooi.
- Look: kijk.
- Sleeping: slapie (this was ‘bat’ for months).
- Bed: bat.
- Pillow: kussen.
- Water: watie or wawa.
- Rain: also watie.
- Drink: trinkn.
- Thank you: Gasjas. Sometimes ankeke (dankjewel).
- Book: boek.
- Cake: taat.
- Bus: bus (same in all three languages).
- Car: auto.
- Gone: … weg! (to everything that is not in her sight, or that she doesn’t want anywhere near).
- Chair: stoel.
- Shoes: spato (this was shoes/schoen for a long time, sigh).
- Pants: bloek (instead of the Dutch broek).
- Belly: buik.
- Nose: neus.
- Mouth: boca.
- Snot: moco.
- Don’t do this: no se hace! Or ‘nie doe!’
- Mexico: mikoko.
- Balloon: blommon.
- Ball: bal.
- Plants: plantie.
- Flower: bloem or flowe.
- Come here: kom maar.
- Fix it: makie (maken).
- It doesn’t fit: pat nie (from past niet in Dutch).
- I want more: mas!
- Ready: klaar.
- Out: uit.
- It fell: se cayo!
- Slide: glij.
- Sophia: fissa.
- All other kids: bebe.
- Our best friend Danny: daddy.
- Teddy Bear: also daddy or teddy. Confusing, right? When she gets all excited, yelling daddy I never know if she means Danny or a (teddy)bear.
- Luis: ‘iiiiiis.
- Kiss: kusje.
- Socks: sokkem.
- Dirty: also vies. Sometimes followed by EW.
- School: school (pronunciation in Dutch).
- Broken: pakot (instead of kapot).
- Watch videos on her kids tablet: kijkie!
- Brush teeth: andje poetsn.
- Bicycle: saikeke (which probably is bicycle) or fiets.
- Train: tein.
- Airplane: liegtuig.
- Ship: boot (pronunciation in Dutch).
- Open: oop.
- Stop: stop.
- Done: so!
- Home: (t)huis.
- Shower: wati or dusjan.
- Where are you: ‘aar ben jij?
- There is: daar i’!
- This is: di i’.
- Bravo: BLABOOO.
- Again: oppekee? (she means to say: nog een keer).
- Dog: ‘ond or ‘af.
- Cat: poes or simply ‘miau’.
- Elephant: fantie.
- Monkey: monkey (this was aap (dutch).
- Ladybug: meesje! (from lieveheersbeestje, honestly she sometimes even sees them when I would almost consider it impossible for her eyes to spot the ladybug).
- Butterfly: FLY!
- Horse: paad.
- Frog: kikke or kike.
- Duck: pato or ee(n)d.
- Bird: vogel koooeeeekoeeeee followed by a bird move with her arms.
- Lion: leeuw wrrraaaaawww.
- Sheep: sheep.
- Crocodile: oko’il.
- Chicken: pik (instead of kip).
- Bread: bloot (which actually means nude).
- Cheese: kaas.
- Milk: (le)tita, melk or milk. She uses all three.
- Pizza: pita or tita (do you get my confusion sometimes?).
- Chocolate: koekoeka.
- Cookie: koekie.
- Ice cream: AKWIE (Yup. This one took us some time to unravel).
- Coffee: kossie.
- Eat: aite (instead of eten).
- Fries: fietjes.
- Croissantje: ohsandje.
- Pancake: koekepam (instead of pannenkoek).
- Pasta: pasta (also to rice).
- Tomato: matie.
- Apple: appel.
- Banaan: anana, or anaan.
- Carrot: ottel (instead of wortel).
- Fish: vies.
- Paw Patrol: Platoto! – and she knows the names of Sky and Rubble. That leaves me with the big task to learn the other names as well.
- Hummy, her favorite stuffed animal: ummie! (this was ‘mie’ until this week).
- Nijntje: nijntje, nijntie, nijnte are all used and mixed.
- Baby Shark: bebe s(j)ark.
- Daddy Finger, Mommy Finger etc: daddy fikke, mami fikke.
- Pikachu: Pikachu (she loves the song with all the big pikachus parading).
- Woezel & Pip: yepe Pip, sometimes woese en pip!
- Minnie and Mickey Mouse: mimi en mika ‘ouse.
- Blippi: Oppie
- Peppa Pig: papi pig
There is something else I really need to share. Sophia started ‘counting’, which is also quite hard in three languages. She hears many different numbers and well, logically she still fails in relating languages, numbers and the order. Anyhow, it’s one of the cutest things ever when I see her determined, and very convinced of herself, ‘count’. It goes like this: siiix, zemem, nain, cuatro, cinco, siiix, eight. Yaaaa! Blaboooo!
How can you not melt? Also, she tends to make her own versions of songs she learns. At kindergarten, there are different songs throughout the day. One of them is ‘lekker drinken, lekker drinken. Slok slok slok.’, which last week she converted to ‘lekker slapen, lekker slapen, slok slok slok.’
I love how she plays with songs she heard somewhere. Same happens with baby shark and family finger. Furthermore she listens to them in different languages, so she mixes them in different languages. A real artist!
Anyway, with every new word I start wondering where she got it from. Which is not as easy to investigate anymore, as she learns a lot in kindergarten. It definitely speeds up her process of wanting to speak and learn more words. Sophia and her bilingual vocabulary develop in a rapid tempo. We enjoy it, and we hope you do as well.
The Limitless Family