My 2 and a half year old doesn't seem to understand "what" questions (what did you do today? What did you eat?) a lot of the time - she just keeps replying "Si, si" every time I repeat my question. Same thing when my husband asks the question in French, and we're not sure what she does when the question is asked in Spanish.
If I ask her "what's that?", or even "what's that in English? (after she's said it in another language), she responds correctly, so on some level she must understand what it means.
Is this normal at this age? Or is it a multiple languages issue (or just her!)?
Each of those questions are quite different so it might not be that she's not understanding the ''what" but that she has to learn about each question separately. Also they're very open questions (ie there are many possible correct answers) so they're harder to answer than a closed question requiring a simple yes or no. Older children at school will often not reply to those questions or say "I don't know" or "nothing" because it feels like too much effort to remember or to construct an answer. As a primary teacher I've spoken to many anxious parents worried their child is not eating in school or bored and friendless because they're not answering those questions. One way to teach her this is to model it. You can use real situations where you know what she's done/eaten. You can also use toys/puppets. Play a game with them and then ask the toy/puppet what they did or ate and you put on a voice for them to answer. You can then ask your daughter the same question and see if she answers. If she doesn't give her a choice ie maybe she ate a banana and you can ask did you eat an orange or a banana. She's still very young so even monolingual children might not answer well at this stage but after lots of practice she should be able to learn.
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Raquel: I love it, Mayken! What a sweet lady. I would have listened in and not asked, hehe. Did you use it to show your daughter how useful the ml can be?
Dec 21, 2017 20:35:38 GMT 9
Mayken: Raquel, my daughter loved it - both the coincidence, and that this lady was learning our language!
Dec 24, 2017 22:25:47 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Happy New Year to you all! Let's make 2018 a really good year!
Dec 31, 2017 7:04:50 GMT 9
Joanna: Packing to go home from Canada...luggage scale reading 23 kg of minority language books!
Dec 31, 2017 23:48:06 GMT 9
Amy: Happy new year to all! . May 2018 bring you every success in your bilingual endeavours!
Jan 1, 2018 23:08:58 GMT 9
Mayken: Happy new year to everyone! I shared a little New Year's Eve story in the Snack Bar.
Jan 5, 2018 5:08:21 GMT 9
Mayken: 7yo wrote her Christmas letter in the ml and sent it to Santa's address in our ml country. This week she received his reply - and was somewhat offended that he replied in the ML
Jan 5, 2018 21:47:21 GMT 9
Adam Beck: That's very cute, Mayken!
Jan 6, 2018 7:57:09 GMT 9
Amy: Oh no Mayken!! I'd also feel very gutted in her shoes! Hope he made up for it by spoiling her on Xmas!
Jan 7, 2018 1:12:53 GMT 9
Mayken: He totally did, Amy! Especially her most important wish - the second illustrated Harry Potter (in ml, of course).
Jan 9, 2018 0:06:05 GMT 9
Raquel: Happy 2018!! How come Santa replied in the wrong language? That's weird.
Jan 9, 2018 19:26:41 GMT 9
Mayken: Raquel, he gets letters from all over the world at that German address, and I guess the reply is in the language that matches the country fo the child's return address. Next time she'll use my mom's address (if she still wants to write to Santa then).
Jan 10, 2018 0:38:19 GMT 9
Raquel: Mayken, I just was surprised that, reading a letter in a certain language, they would reply in a different one. But if it's an standarized letter, then it makes total sense.
Jan 10, 2018 21:42:23 GMT 9
Mayken: It is. Our local ML Santa, to whom my daughter wrote the year before (in ml) replied in ML too but started the letter with her name. But then he's serving a town of 37,000 people only.
Jan 10, 2018 23:18:32 GMT 9
Raquel: Makes sense, Mayken. Thanks for explaining.
Jan 11, 2018 22:31:51 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter called me out twice this week for using the wrong language with her. The second time it was only one work (number of a métro line).
Jan 12, 2018 0:16:39 GMT 9