Little Quentin is thriving and prospering, but his talking has remained rather minimalist. He is interacting a lot with his sister, his kindergarten friends and us, but doesn’t say much. He usually restricts himself to saying “ja”/ “nee” and “si”/ “no”  (German and Italian for: yes/no) and points out things by saying “da” (German for: there).

His favourite word is still “car”, as it was four month ago. Little Quentin is obsessed by cars, he points at each single car he sees and always carries at least three  toy cars with him. He also distinguishes between all kinds of vehicles and says “bu” (German for bus),”mo”  for motor bike, “neno” (the siren sound of an ambulance) “ba” (Bagger, German for excavator) and “nam” (tram).

Another new word he often uses is “Schuh”/”shoe”, which works in German or English, but gets a bit confusing as Quentin also says “giù” (Italian for: down) and it sounds rather alike when he says it. He uses “giù” referring to up and down and, to make matters more complicated, he also says English “down”, which then only means down.

Quentin still loves leafing through picture books, points with his little finger at the objects and wants me to say the words. When we see a moon or stars he says “Mo(nd)” (German for: moon), for a ball he says “ba(ll)” (German for ball). When we come to animals he says “bau-bau”, “meow” “gack-gack”, he roars like a lion or makes a clicking sound for a horse.

Recently Quentin has discovered “mio” (Italian for: mine) which he uses a lot, also in combinations like “mio bu” (Italian- English/German for: my book) or “mio ba” (Italian-German for: my ball). Literature says that second born often use the possessive pronoun very early, as they have to make clear to the older sibling what is theirs.

As already with Scarlett it is very reassuring that Quentin’s passive understanding is good. He seems to understand most of what we say and when I tested him for example on body parts he rightly pointed at “Nase, Ohr, Mund, Hand, Bein, Fuss” etc. (German for nose, ear, mouth, hand, leg, foot etc.)

Another nice one he says in German is “popo” (German for botty) which he says when he wants to have his little towel to clean his botty.

So far Quentin’s language skills are not spectacular but there are some interesting differences to Scarlett’s at his age. Quentin uses children’s words like “gong” for drink or the onomatopoetic “njam-njam” for eat, which Scarlett never did.

The most striking difference however is that Quentin seems more inclined to speak English or German. His favourite words “car” and “more” are English. He says “bu” for book/Buch, “ba” for ball, “shoe” which are all English/ German and then “mo” for Mond in German. In Italian he only says si, no, mio and giù, we are still waiting for a proper word. And this even though Quentin stays in an Italian kindergarten for 7 hours a day, his mom and sister speak Italian to him and the general surrounding language is Italian.

Exposure time is a key factor in language exposition, but active speaking apparently also depends on other factors. It is said that grandparents are the best language teachers and in Quentin’s case his English grandmother Daphne was there two to three times a week from the day he was born. And there is our housekeeper Teresa, who also speaks English and comes twice a week and plays with the kids. German received a boost when we spent one month in Germany in summer where Oma and Opa spoke German to Quentin.

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