This is Blair and Eddie (and their parents) from Canton, Missouri, USA. We have lots of questions, but decided to ask only four here (for now)...
1. What language do you use most with each other? 2. Do you dream in English or Japanese? 3. Do you ever use your "other" language as a secret language? For example, if you're among your Japanese friends, do you ever talk to each other in English when you don't want them to understand what you say? 4. Have you ever seen a Japanese giant salamander? Are they slimy?
We're looking forward to hearing from you (especially about the salamander)!
Blair and Eddie
P.S.: Eddie wanted to make sure we thank you here too for taking such good care of our Alfonzo! He's in Sweden now, hopefully staying warm.
(For those who don't know who Alfonzo is, you can learn all about his travels on his website here. He had a wonderful time in Hiroshima with Lulu and Roy, their Mommy and crazy Daddy!)
[Adam's note: Before they entered our local elementary school, they used English more than Japanese as their shared language. However, since they now think in Japanese throughout most of the day, it has naturally become the "default" language for their interactions. This isn't really a concern, though, because their English is now firmly grounded and they can switch languages as necessary.]
2. Do you dream in English or Japanese?
Lulu: Japanese, and a little bit of English. I usually dream about Mommy, like when I went on a candy airplane and Mommy was the pilot.
Roy: Nobody talks in my dreams. They only open and close their mouths, but they're not saying anything.
3. Do you ever use your "other" language as a secret language?
Lulu: No. When my friends tell me to talk in English, I say no.
Roy: No, but my friends and I speak a little bit of Spanish. I'm teaching them.
[Adam's note: They seem to have mixed feelings about their English ability when among their friends. I know they take some pride in it--because English ability is somewhat rare in Japan and earns respect from others--but they also feel a bit shy about speaking it so openly.]
4. Have you ever seen a Japanese giant salamander? Are they slimy?
Lulu: Yes, at the zoo. It's ugly and it looks slimy, but its eyes are cute.
Roy: Yes, we saw it at the zoo. It was really big. I don't know if it's slimy or not because I never touched it. I want to touch it, though. I want it to bite my finger.
[Adam's note: Japanese giant salamanders actually live in our area, but we've never seen one in the wild. But if we find one, we'll put it in a box and send it to you, Blair and Eddie!]
Blair and Eddie, thank you for your questions!
Adam Beck is the author of the popular nonfiction books "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability" and "I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL!" (illustrated by Pavel Goldaev) as well as the award-winning humorous novel "How I Lost My Ear" (illustrated by Simon Farrow).
As always, we love learning about you monkeys! Blair says she dreams in Hungarian, Eddie dreams in French - he only speaks the few words that he has picked up from Alfonzo when he was in Paris, so his dreams must not be very detailed (and must involve a lot of crepes). He's also 3, so if we ask him again, he might say Chinese... or Japanese... or Gibberish (he's fluent in Gibberish).
We all hope you'll find a Japanese giant salamander, we'd love to have another pet!
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