Today at last the hot and humid heat of Northern Georgia bore fruit, and we had a rainstorm. It was quite delightful, except items of patio furniture and branches were flying outside.
As I cuddled Raihana during her nap (she started daycare this week, and is still adjusting, so I am cuddling her more than usual to compensate for my guilt) – as I cuddled her, I heard rattling against the window. It was hail. Hail in August.
I had to go out to check. I almost felt like bringing the baby outside to show her hail. According to the rules of OPOL (one person, one language), I speak Urdu with her (except sometimes when I am upset, which is counter-intuitive), and Svend speaks English with her. If nothing else, this would have been the perfect opportunity to introduce her to the Urdu word “zhala-baaree” (hailstorm).
“Zhala-baaree” is one of those words that you rarely ever use in conversation. Still, you need it in the primer because the letter “zh” rarely occurs in the beginning of words. In fact it rarely occurs in words in general, except for polite poetic words like “mizhgaan” (eye-lash).
“Zoy” is another one of those letters that the primer deals with awkwardly. It usually features the word “Zuroof” (containers), and features pictures of dishes, bowls, pitchers, and so on, so it is not terribly self-explanatory to a young child. “Zwaad” is also an embarrassment: it always features the picture of an old man, with the word that usually works as an *adjective* (upsetting the noun-centric world of primers) “Za’eef” (frail and elderly).
I chose a few minutes of quiet relaxation over introducing “zhala-baaree,” of course. She can do without “zh” in general, I think, though we’ll be working on that soon enough.
This week, I have wondered about the possibility of handicapping her in the immediate short term at daycare: she doesn’t have much intimate familiarity with the English words food, eat, drink, water, milk, out, come, play, read, and so on. Does this make her daycare experience worse than that of the other children who come prepared with those words?
I don’t think that the problem will continue for very long, even if it does. Even 3-4 hours a day with peers and Montessori teachers, immersed in English, will suffice to bring her up to date with those language skills.
In a world that does not favour Other languages, Urdu will probably have to start competing for attention very soon indeed. And not just the “zh” words.