Finally Quentin made a big leap forward. He is now able to say whole sentences and his vocabulary has grown a lot: “È vero che lei non mangia questo … il fieno … mangiano i wiii e le mucce?” (Italian for: is it true that she doesn’t eat this …the hay … horses and cows eat it?; ‘wii’ being onomatopoeic for horse). On a grammatical level Quentin has moved on from using mainly infinitives to conjugating verbs properly: “(Per)ché Papà mette scarpe?” (Italian for: Why does daddy put his shoes?), “quello cattivo cavallo non tira” (Italian for: That naughty horse doesn’t pull), “vado giù” (Italian for: I go down), “v(i)eni” (Italian for: you come).

Quentin’s linguistic performance however varies a lot. Sometimes he comes up with full sentences, other times he remains rather basic. Sometimes he rightly uses specific terms like ‘(r)agnatela’ (spider’s web) or ‘lumaca’ (slug), other times he points at objects not knowing the right term. His learning curve his steep though. When he hears a new word he often repeats it immediately and then uses it in the future. Quentin also mixes less, his sentences are mainly Italian with the odd German word slipping in: “Mama ha detto quelli tot da” (Italian-German for: Mom said that those are dead; talking about a cemetery). Sentences like  “questo dieb b(r)utto gestohl(en)” (Italian-German for: This nasty thief stole”) are the exception to the rule.

Obviously we are really happy about Quentin’s language development. Only three months ago Quentin hardly spoke, now he is talking a lot. And it is about time. We have never been seriously worried, but slowly we were getting slightly anxious.

Also in German Quentin improved a lot, but progress is slower. He usually uses the infinitive and his sentences are simpler: “Bagger komm hier a leg Sand” (German for: Digger comes here to put sand), “Hier kommt boese Mann” (German for: Here comes the bad man), “(W)arum du machen?” (German for: Why are you doing this?). Quentin’s German vocabulary has grown considerably, he now uses words like ‘(R)itterburg’ (knight’s castle) or ‘Zugbruecke’ (drawbridge).

In English Quentin seems to be treading water at the moment. He sometimes slips in English words into the other languages: (W)arum wir gehen a water?” (German-English for: Why do we go to the water?), “questo pa(rr)ot” (the ‘r’ pronounced as ‘l’) and occasionally he uses several English words: “Why go here, Koffer (suitcase)”.

Looking at all the three languages, Italian has clearly made the biggest progress and is now by far the strongest language. German is slowly being pushed aside, but when we spent a week in Germany for Christmas it had a short revival.

What concerns passive understanding we are happy about all the three languages. Quentin seems to be understanding whichever language is spoken to him, if it is grandma in English, me in German or Penny in Italian.