Sunday, March 2, 2008

What did you say?

Jee is in a Mandarain Chinese class and his teacher, an adorable teacher wtih 30 years of teaching under her belt, told me the other day:

"He has a good tongue."

All I could think was, "What the heck? You mean, maybe, he has good math skills or his writing is coming along nicely, right? What has his tongue got to do with it?"

She noted my look of confusion, and since her English is still heavily accented, she repeated, "He has a good tongue."

I had a look of utter bewilderment on my face, I'm sure.

She laughed, politely of course, and explained that most English speaking children have a hard time moving their tongues in the proper way to make certain sounds. Jee's tongue didn't have those limitations and he was learning the language easily.

The other day I picked him up from school and his teacher was speaking to him in full sentences, about 4 or 5 sentences worth by my untrained estimation. Jake responded with an equally complex answer, not a repetition of what she had said, but a unique, truly communicative response to her question.

I stood their with my jaw on the floor.

My immediate vision was of travelling to Shang'hai with him as our guide. In that little interaction, I saw the world open up a bit.

Aee is learning Spanish which opens up quite a few countries.

I know French which opens up Canada, France, and quite a few islands.

Vee and Kee are learning Latin so we can go to ... the Vatican city?