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Question of the Week - Other Languages

I totally had a different question of the week which I haven't had time to post, but then I read Ask Moxie's site today and remembered a different question I've been meaning to ask.

Do you use any words or phrases from different languages in your house as part of your normal lingo? If so, what?

I know there are a few of you who live in other countries and/or have spouses who speak other languages, so I'll bet you guys have a bunch.

For me and my husband, we speak American English and live in the US. BORING! But I used to be pretty fluent in Italian and lived over there for a semester in college. My goal when having kids was to start speak Italian again and get books and music in Italian so that I could teach them Italian. Italian is not super common here in the States, which is part of why it is appealing to me. I want to be able to say things to my kids that they will understand but no one else will. You know, like, "Stop your crying or I'll give you something to cry about!" (You all know I'm kidding with that, right?)

Although I do have some board books and a CD with music, I've not had the time to brush up on my own Italian language skills enough to use regularly with the kids. But there are some words that I have used and continue to use, as well as ones that I hope to use more (please excuse--or better yet, correct--any typos or misuses, as it's been many many years since I spoke the language regularly):

-Basta - means "enough" and I've used this with the dog for years. I'm planning to use it with the kids more, as needed.
-La bocca - means "the mouth" and I used it this with the Pumpkin when referring to her mouth as in open it or close it. I have a feeling I'll be using the phrase "Ferma la bocca" when I want her to shut her mouth in the teenage years! Ha!
-Aperto/Chiuso - ("open/close") I use this when playfully trying to get the Pumpkin to open (and close) her mouth to brush her teeth.
-Ciao - ("hello" and "goodbye" informally) I say this pretty often, especially with the accompanying "bella" (beautiful)
-Di mi - means "tell me" and though I used to say it all the time when living in Italy, I don't now. I plan to use this more.

How about you? Do you tell your child that he/she has that certain je ne sais quoi? When they keep begging for something, do you say nein? Do you greet your child with ni hao in the morning? Do you remind them to say por favor? Di mi!


Jac said…
We try and throw a little French into our day. Neither DH nor I are fluent, but we are conversational (just from school french, and travelling to Quebec and France a few times). Also, my sister (who is our full-time nanny) is working on her Bachelor of Education with a minor in French, with the goal of eventually teaching French immersion, so she loves to practice on DS. So... we have a lot of Bonjours, Saluts, Au Revoirs, and Si vous plaits going on in our house. Occasionaly we throw in other words, so he's got things like avion (plane), and chien (dog). We had such great success with the signing time DVDs that I bought a great set of DVDs from Little Pims which are language CDs aimed at young tots. DS really likes these.

BTW @Caramama, if you are looking for more resources for Italian language, they carry a set of Italian DVDS.
OneHappyCow said…
I don't speak another language, neither does my husband. But I "know" some words in Polish, which I am about 25%. So we sing "Stolat" at birthdays, and call her bottom a "dupa" - as in "sit on your dupa," "wipe your dupa," etc. It works because I don't like any of the words for butt, and it isn't slangy enough to ever be misconstrued. (As she's gotten older, we have clarified the meanings of front/back dupa and differences in boys and girls) :) I really think that those are the only 2 words - I wish I knew more myself to pass along.
nej said…
We (and by we, I mean me because I married a white guy) are trying to be more intentional about speaking in Spanish at home. I began a slow phase-in about two weeks ago where I use common Spanish phrases for things like 'come here' and 'where is it?' because I think the easiest way for anyone to learn a language is when immersed and in context. So when we walk out of the store, I throw my hands up in mock confusion and ask "Donde esta Newie?" (Newie, btw, is what E named the new car. Clever, huh?) It's been working. My goal is that by the time he turns four (it gives us a little over a year) he'll be able to understand anything I say in Spanish, and have a half-way decent spoken vocabulary. My other goal is to never have to "teach" B Spanish, which barring any unforeseen laziness on my part, shouldn't be a problem.
Cloud said…
No, as two native English speakers, our words are mostly English. Although, Pumpkin does say "garage" the way my Kiwi husband does ("GARE-ahge").

We're teaching her Chinese (via DVDs and a tutor) and she gets some Spanish from day care and Dora. She really enjoys learning how to count in different languages, so she often demands that I count in French or Hubby count in German, and it is cute to watch her figure it all out.
Karen said…
I really wish that we knew another language in our home because I'd totally teach it to the kids. Unfortunately all we know is Redneck. I've always said that kids should be taught a second language in elementary years instead of high school though. Their brains are like mush. Start them young! Good for you!
MommyEm said…
We speak some German with with Dorothy, although it isn't consistent. I used "nicht in dem Mund" (not in the mouth) a lot when she was younger. My MIL was speaking fluent German with Dorothy until she and my DH got into a big argument over German school. DH went and hated it and won't send Dorothy. MIL didn't like that and now she won't speak a lick of German to Dorothy and hasn't for over a year. Why she chose that as her reaction, I will never understand.
mom2boy said…
No, sadly. :(
Melba said…
Um, no. Nothing at all. And I live in a country with two official languages yet I've never uttered a French word to my daughters.

Does the Spanish she sees on Dora the Explorer or the Chinese from Ni Hao Kai Lan count? hehe.
paola said…
Well, you know that we are raising our kids bilingual Italian/English). Hubby is Italian, I'm 2nd generation Italian, so bilingual myself. This is how we work language in our house. Since hubby speaks excellent English too, we have days were we speak English and days we speak Italian, so we both get to speak the other language and more importanly, the kids hear us speak to each other in both languages. It works quite well, even though I prefer my hubby on Italian days as his personality comes thru more, and he prefers me on English days for the same reason.

I only speak English to my kids, even out in public, much to many people's disapproval. I also only ever read English to them and show them dvds in English so they only associate English with me. Hubby only speaks Italian to them, but they sometimes speak to him in English, especially Zoe ( 3.5) whose Italian isn't at the level of her brother's yet.
Becoming Mommy said…
It's mostly American English with us. My husband doens't speak anything else.
However, I grew up with a few Irish phrases as well as a hefty dose of Spanish so I do use them and Sasha has picked some of it up. He typically answers in English, but he does understand what I say.
We also wonder if he's picked up some Ghanian...his caregiver is from there and some of the words he choses and doesn't treat like his made-up words are unknown to us.

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