In the privacy of our own home, we are really very laid back about how we communicate.
We generally speak English, with bits of Hockkien and Malay and very occasionally smaterrings of Mandarin also end up in our conversation. Thus it is hardly surprising that G takes all this in her stride, and understands us well enough.
It does however cause me some concern in how we communicate with Georgia in front of ‘company’. Do we maintain our pot-luck of different languages and ignore the fact that absolutely no one else, (unless they are from ‘our part of the world’) would understand what we say, or do we say everything in English, although we would not normally do so?
This thought threw me off this morning as I dropped G off at nursery.
She had been going round the house holding on to her favourite blue Minnie Mouse t-shirt, trying to put in on and parading it for me every time I asked about ‘your Minnie Mouse sah’.
Lu ai cheng (hockkien: do you want to wear) your Minnie mouse sah to school? [Affirmative nod]
Hor mummy kua (hockkien: Show mummy), is it pretty-pretty?
[A little jig, and an attempt to model the t-shirt]
Ok. Afterwards you show Bethan at school OK? [Another affirmative nod]
At the door to the nursery, Bethan is waiting and I try telling Georgia,
There! Show Bethan….your Minnie mouse… (very silent) sah.
I was at a loss….’t-shirt’ would have been the appropriate word, but that didn’t come out, because I had not thought about what I would say so that someone else other than her dad would understand the conversation between us.
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