Quentin is talking much more, but the quality of his output varies a lot. He is able to say complete little sentences: “Dopo andiamo a Kuh?” (Italian, German for: Later we go to the cow?), but most of the time he says single words.  Quite some times he is desperately struggling for words: “me … ahhh … prendo …  ahh … me … giu … brrrm … brrmm … weeeeeh”. Quentin has become very keen on communicating, but often he is not able to bring across what he wants to say.

Generally, however, Quentin has made a step forward. Three months ago he started using longer phrases more often: “me no away” (I don’t want to leave); “Papa, tu my helm giu” (Italian, German, English for: Papa, you my helmet down, meaning “could you get my helmet from upstairs”) or “blue gun momo down” (the blue water pistol is down in a motorbike).

About one and a half months ago he then started using verbs more frequently: “me hoch gehen” (English, German for: me go up), and soon after he moved on to complete sentences: “Andiamo giu a gioca ball” (Italian, English for: Let’s go down to play ball); “Me guck da mein Buch” (English, German for: I look at my book there). “Papa, me bauen Zug” (English, German for: daddy, me build train); “Me buy car”; “tu vai a car” (Italian, English for: You go to car); “tu gioca Zug” (Italian, English for: you play train); “me park here” (when parking his bike); “Papa, vai da guck” (Italian, German for: Go there and look); “you buy Schuhe” (English, German for: you buy shoes).

Quentin’s sentences are rather simple, his verbs are usually not conjugated. Grammatically seen he is well behind his peers, but I suppose the grammar simply cannot evolve because his vocabulary is so small. Compared to his peers the number of words he says is low and then they are also about equally distributed over three languages. But looking at the bright side, Quentin has also improved a lot in this area, above all in Italian.

Quentin’s new Italian words are: “barca” (Italian for: boat), “bici” (Italian for: bike), “b(r)utto” (Italian for: ugly), “cieca” (Italian for: blind), “butto” (Italian for: I throw), “tetto” (Italian for: roof), “qui” (Italian for: here) “qua” (Italian for: there), “aiuta” (Italian for: help), “fuoco” (Italian for: fire), ecco (Italian for: “here you are”, “palla” (Italian for: ball), “porta” (Italian for: door), “colla” (Italian for: glue), “dito” (Italian for: finger), “caccola” (Italian for: bogey), “zizza” (dialectal Italian for: breast), “metto” (Italian for: I put). Quentin is also using possessives very often in Italian: “mio” (Italian for: my) and “tuo” (Italian for: your”)

English is still Quentin’s preferred language, even though Italian has caught up a lot. Among the new English words there are: “money”, “hot”, “dark”, “blue”, “black”, “nail” “pen”, “black”, “peach”, “apple”, “head”, “home” “eye”, “duck”, “dog”, “along”, “tower”, “my”, “top”, “wow” (as in ‘great’), “keys” and “chirp-chirp” (for bird).

In German Quentin has slowed down a bit. New words are: “Burg” (German for: castle), “zack” (German for: quick), “blabla” (German for: blah), “Hallo” (German for: hello; used as ‘telephone’), “Baer” (German for: bear), “Berg” (German for: mountain), “blau” (German for: blue), “nackig” (German for: naked). To my great satisfaction, Quentin started using “bitte” (German for: please), when he wants to have something.

Some words Quentin uses are not really assignable to a single language: “Nackendick” which he uses for rhinoceros (after Michael Ende’s story “Norbert Nackendick”), “Babar” for an elephant (after Jean de Brunhoffs “Babar the elephant”) and the onomatopoeic term “Ticktock” for clocks.

Admittedly we sometimes wonder whether being linguistically behind has a negative impact on Quentin’s social interaction. Inside the family Quentin manages to communicate quite well. He is mixing languages a lot, but we generally understand. In his kindergarten group, where he is surrounded by only Italian speakers, matters could be different. His teachers however calmed us down. They said that Quentin is not talking a lot but he manages to communicate what he wants. Maybe there is simply not yet a reason why he needs to talk more.

Quentin is aware that there are different languages. To me he often says: “du, nein” (German for: you not), a second later to Penny: “tu no” (Italian for: you no). Once when the electricity went he said: “buio” (Italian for: dark), then looked at me and said: “dunkel” (German for: dark). To grandma he says when he sees a hole in the street: “buco” (italian for: hole) and then “hole”. On the other hand he answered to  the question: “Kannst du Wasser sagen?” (German for: Can you say water?): “Ja, acqua” (German, Italian for: Yes, water).

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