the 90th minute

Until September 2007, when my oldest daughter was born, this blog covered daily life and politics in Israel, as well as Hebrew-English linguistic issues, from the perspective of an American-raised journalist and translator living in Israel. Now it mostly serves as the SmunchMonk&Bear news agency, a portal into the bizarre universe of the little people. Read more at:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The hole in the middle of the Cheerio

KL, in full sentences:
Moriya smile at me.
Help me fix stroller please. (Two verbs in one sentence!)

RP, picking out sounds:
Pumpkin that's like pump.
Cornflakes that's like corn.

(Speaking of which, out of nowhere K decided she doesn't eat Cheerios - they normally eat them both together, but for the past week it's been all "Cornflakes. No cereal. Cornflakes." They insist on calling Cheerios "cereal," no matter how many times I try to explain that both are different kinds of cereal. What's funny is that in Israel it's kind of the opposite: "Cornflakes" is used as a generic word for cereal [though there is a proper Hebrew phrase - deganei boker] that can include Cheerios, Rice Krispies or anything else.)

R has also had a few misses on the sounds, and seems to mix up "p" and "b" sounds; she told me "pumpkin" starts with the same sound as "bus." But she's definitely heading in the right direction (I think).

R's English is currently stronger than her Hebrew. I've especially noticed a lot of holes in her Hebrew vocab (though the holes will prob be in the other direction soon), and she can't pronounce a resh (Hebrew "r," esp problematic since it's the first letter of her unusual name, and people have a hard time just guessing what she's trying to say). She sometimes fills in with English or just makes up words (leaving whoever she's talking to a bit out of their depth), though sometimes she just changes direction and drops whatever she's trying to say in favor of something else. Like I heard her talking to two kids about what food they take to gan for lunch, and R was trying to say she takes in cereal (they beg for cereal in a bag to munch on the stroller on the way to gan - not that they haven't already had breakfast, mind you) but she was saying "cereal" in the middle of a Hebrew sentence and they didn't understand what she was trying to say. She repeated it the same way, then switched directions entirely and basically changed the topic (can't remember to what).

Yesterday I noticed she was imposing English grammar on a Hebrew sentence when she said something about a "yarok motzetz" (the equivalent of a "pacifier green"). I'm pretty sure most of the vocab and grammar issues will get sorted out more or less by themselves - eventually. And in the meantime, she's showing a heartening interest in the sounds that words make. If only she hadn't mysteriously forgotten how to count...


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