Quentin’s progress in Italian has definitely gained momentum. Grammar, sentence structure and above all vocabulary have improved a lot: “Guarda, tutti i vestiti sono qui.” (Italian for: Look, all the clothes are here). “Chiediamo se Andrea vuole giocare.” (Italian for: Let’s ask if Andrea wants to play.) He asks questions: “Cosa fai tu nascondi dietro porta?” (Italian for: What are you doing you hide behind the door?), “Perchè brucia qui?” (Italian for: Why does it burn here?) and tells us what he wants: “Facciamo cosi. Tu vai in bici, mi porta a scuola, poi lavori, poi mi prendi.” (Italian for: Let’s do it like this. First you go by bike and take me to school, then you work and then you pick me up).

Three month ago Quentin also started telling us longer stories: “Oggi io vado a letto. Sento rumore. Fuori lupo. Fa ‘awwwooooo’. Fa paura.” (Italian for: Today I go to bed. I hear a sound. Wolves outside. They do ‘awwwooooo’. It is scary.) Initially his accounts were rather simple, but they soon became more sophisticated. Looking at his pirate picture book Quentin said: “Qui mettono tesori, qui spade. Questi si tuffano dalla barca. Questo ride, perchè lui si butta in acqua, cosi non lo prendono. Poi vengono i squali.” (Italian for: Here they put the treasures. These ones jump from the boat. This one laughs, because that one throws himself in the water, so that they don’t catch him. Then the sharks come.)

Quentin now uses conjunctions and linkers like ‘cosi’ (so that), ‘perche’ (because) or ‘poi’ (then) and sometimes he uses the past tense, even though this is rather the exception: “Hanno preso questo” (Italian for: They took this). He communicates effectively when he is at home with us, outside of the family, however, he does not talk a lot. When Quentin is in kindergarten or with friends he still communicates in simple phrases. I suppose this still needs some time and maybe it is not even language problem as Quentin is rather a shy boy.

While Quentin’s Italian started flourishing, his German faded away. A couple of month ago Quentin still mixed in German words: “Io gehen runter a spielen” (Italian-German for: I go down to play”, “Vai weg” (go away) “Prendo Wasser” (I take water), “portono Koffer” (they carry suitcases) or he said short German phrases: “komm, spiel” (German for: come and play). Now he doesn’t say a single word of German any more. I of course continue speaking German to Quentin and he seems to understand all I say, but he always and exclusively speaks Italian to me. The same applies for English. Grandma and Teresa speak English to him, he understands and answers in Italian.

When Quentin’s sister Scarlett at more or less the same age slipped into speaking Italian to me (3 years 5 months – Talking like a waterfall – but only in Italian), I was  quite disappointed, with Quentin things are different. Scarlett started speaking more or less at the same time as other children, Quentin however was much behind his peers. So now I simply enjoy that Quentin  is finally communicating, no matter what language it is. It is wonderful to see him interacting and also he seems to enjoy it a lot. He often accompanies his words with distinct facial expressions or gestures or he emphasizes his words when speaking.

So we are really happy about Quentin’s recent language development in Italian. I also don’t think there is reason to get worried about the other languages. Quentin understands German and English, which is the important thing. Maybe we have been spoilt by Quentin’s sister Scarlett, who has always been amazing in handling three languages. So maybe Quentin is simply more like an average multi-lingual learner.

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