We love hearing from dad’s across the World. We were contacted by Stephen Greene who writes for headoftheheard.com and I was honored to welcome his post:
Recently on this site there was a post called The birth of a word – A toddler speaks. It truly is an amazing thing to witness your child learning language and experimenting with new words. Those first stumbling steps on the road to communicating ideas and desires are a wonder for both the child and any proud parent.
In our family, though, we have recently experienced something entirely different. It is as important as the birth of a word, but rarely written or even talked about. It is potentially just as big a milestone, but instead of pure joyous celebrations it is tinged with regret.
I am talking about the death of a word.
I am British but I live in Brazil with my Brazilian wife. We are trying to bring our two-year-old son up to be bilingual English and Portuguese and this means that he comes up with some strange words from time to time. A couple of months before we went to the UK for the first time he had taken an interest in cars and had started calling them ‘brum’ because of the sound they made. While we were in the UK, for no reason that anyone could discern, this word changed from ‘brum’ to ‘abudah’. It happened overnight and the word caught on. Vans, cars, trucks, bikes and motorbikes were all ‘abudah’.
Everyone loved this word. On our arrival back in Brazil we had to translate ‘abudah’ into the Portuguese word ‘carro’ so that our family and friends would understand what he was talking about. Strangers on the street would give us strange looks as our son enthusiastically shouted ‘abudah’ at every passing bus.
And then, one morning, we woke up and ‘abudah’ was no more. It had been replaced by the English word ‘car’. And then, along came ‘tractor’ and ‘tru’ for truck. But ‘abudah’ was never heard of again.
We all missed this strange word. Friends that we hadn’t seen for a few weeks would come in and say ‘abudah’ to our son without a glimmer of understanding from him. It was as if it had never existed.
We do have one small consolation. A bus is ‘Mimi car’ and a motorbike or bicycle is ‘pies’. While everyone loves these words, especially ‘Mimi car’, we know that at some point they too will go the way of ‘abudah’.
Stephen Greene blogs on (not just) the life and times of a bilingual family in Curitiba, Brazil at headoftheheard.com