Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Funny kids' language

I love the way my kids speak in Japanese now! They sound just like elementary school boys in Hokkaido. This is not the same as the Japanese you will learn in a textbook. Sometimes they say things I have never heard of!

I cannot translate for "sense", so I will only translate for meaning - sorry, but this means this post will not mean much to anyone who cannot speak Japanese...

Dio (now age 12, in 6th grade):

- speaking to his younger brother: "Sassa to ikeya, mireya!" (Quick, go and look!) - he said this so quickly I didn't get it at first (and I had never heard of this -ya), but brother understood, so I was surprised!

- when dismayed or sympathetic: "Arama..." (Oh dear...)

- after asking Daddy if he ever looks at Mommy naked (Daddy said sometimes), and asking Mommy if she ever looks at Daddy naked (I said I try not to): "Eroda! Futaritomo eroda!!!" (accusatorily) (sexy! both of you are naughty!)

- when told he cannot do something because of such-and-such reason: "Ii-ssho betsuni" (It's okay isn't it)

One of my Hokkaidoian friends who is my age heard him saying "Ii-ssho" and so on, and was happy that he is speaking in Hokkaido dialect (-ssho instead of deshou), and asked him if he ever says "Namara". Apparently when she was younger it was a trendy word for "very". I had never heard of it, but he said a couple of the boys in his class (a bit rougher boys?) do use it. After that conversation, he suddenly started using it now and then, too - a bit of posing? Like, "Namara hayee" (really fast), etc...

- To me when I was in his classroom and he wanted me to look at his football robot: "Mite mina." (have a look)

- When I mistook "Tonkatsu" on a bento-shop menu for something else, and asked the girl at the cash register if it was chicken - Dio said quickly, "Tonkatsu-tte kaiteattara, futsuwa tonkatsudesho?" (well, if it says tonkatsu, it usually means tonkatsu, doesn't it?) ...

Jiji (age 7, in 1st grade):

- "UssSO! UsSO ja nee ka kore!" (No way! What a lie!)

- (last year, learned in kindergarten): "Daamenanda, damenanda, sensei ni yuccharo" (in a singsong voice, "that's bad, that's bad, I'm telling the teacher!"). When he first told us this it was garbled and we couldn't make out what he was saying, but when we asked him about it he said he didn't know the words, but it is what people say just before they go to tell the teacher! So we worked out what he was saying.

- "SuggE! SuggEE kore wa!" (Wow! This is great!)

- to his big brother when big brother is posing: "Kakkou tsukeruna." (quit posing) He was trying to shout something like this down from the chair lift several times, when he saw Dio just nicely practicing his snowboarding turns, down below.

Anyway, I just get a warm and happy feeling when I hear them saying these things. It is just so cute that they have learned to talk like school-age boys. Dio gets plenty of practice in "official" or "adult" Japanese from Kumon, anyway (he takes "Japanese" for foreigners, mostly targeted towards teenagers or adults, not kokugo - the poor thing has to read these endless example sentences about "Smisu-san" - Mr. Smith - and his friends, who are visiting Japan for business and tourism. I think they are trying to make the foreign students feel more connected by putting plenty of nice foreign characters in the stories and examples, but it gets a little wearing because it is about a world of Tokyo "fresh-off-the-plane" Anglo-Gaijin that my son knows nothing about! Complete with sharp-looking noses and friendly Japanese helpers... he keeps plugging away, though - maybe it is entertaining for him to read about the adventures of the hapless adult gaijins... ?).

Monday, February 12, 2007

Odd dates

Younger brother Jiji (7) likes to write on our calendars when we put them up at the New Year. Last year we were surprised to see that he had confidently written "Critsmas" on December 5.

Today I just looked up at our 2007 puppy calendar (from the 100 yen shop), and learned that Feb. 28 is "Leap Year". :)

He has also put "Lucky Day" on every Saturday, and "RKT Day" on every Friday (well, up through mid-April on the calendar, anyway, when he seems to have tired of this project).

Saturday is the day of the week they sleep in our bed (one of us has to go elsewhere, as there is not room for 4 of us), and Friday nights if it is convenient, big brother Dio sleeps with Jiji in the lower bunk bed. I'm not sure what the "T" is for, but R and K are their initials. "Together" maybe?? We found it convenient to set a day of the week for these two special sleeping arrangements, because without a fixed day they were always asking just in case, "Can we sleep in your bed tonight??" and it was annoying being asked this all the time. They do well having a fixed day.