No Me Duermo – I’m Not Falling Asleep

September 15, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Religion, Spain, Spanish, Videos 321 views

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No me duermo (thumbnail)Today is a local holiday honoring the Virgin of the Good Apparition, a bit of pareidolia that occurred back in 1605 where some light reflecting off a nearby hermitage window reminded someone of the Virgin Mary. Three hundred years later, this particular virgin became the patron saint of the Santander Diocese, and it became a regional holiday. Quite a few people walk the 13 kilometers, mostly uphill, from Colindres to the Bien Aparecida church in Ampuero, and then there are picnics and music and a general festive atmosphere up there…or so I’m told. We’ll have to do the walk one year.

To change topics completely, there’s no daycare today, and Nora got up very early, so we really wanted her to take a nap, but we’ve had no luck. Right after lunch, Nora and her mother were arguing about taking a nap, and it was too cute, so I grabbed the video camera, and this is what I captured.

It’s mostly in Spanish, so I’ve subtitled it (click the “CC” button).

As you can see, she’s in the stage of parroting everything back to practice her pronunciation. Personally, I’m completely fascinated by her ability to correctly conjugate complex forms of Spanish verbs. Earlier, we were out at a cafe, and I gave her a five euro note and told her to give it to the waitress. She replied, “Cuando viene, yo se lo doy.” (When she comes, I’ll give it to her.) That’s some complex direct object and indirect object pronoun grammar that I didn’t finally grasp until well into my Spanish studies.

The other day, when she was talking to her Spanish grandfather on the phone, she sat down in a chair, put her hand on her forehead and said, accompanied by perfectly exasperated body language, “Joder, Abuelo…” (Fuck, Grandpa…). Part of me was impressed and delighted that she’d nailed the performance and intonation so well. Of course she gets absolutely no reinforcement from us when she uses inappropriate words. A more common bowdlerized version is “¡Jolí­n!“, which she uses in the video, and I’ve translated to “Jeez!” in the subtitles. That’s a perfectly acceptable exclamation in Spanish culture between children and adults.

  • How cute. Jolí­n is the best! Sorry that I comment on all your posts about her, but I imagine myself having a kid like her one day (bilingual). She’s adorable.

  • Jimy

    What a ham! I wouldn’t go to sleep either!  So much better sitting on mommy’s lap, singing and having fun….Jolí­n!

  • So adorable–the story about her phone convo with her abuelo cracks me up!

  • bawa

    Reminds me of own kids when they were little: “Its raining, no puedo” …

    But coming from a mutlilingual society myself (5 languages – 3 scripts) and my parents each coming from 2 other mutlilingual societies (5 languages each), all I can say is that languages come naturally to children and I am always surprised by the debate they excite in Spain and UK, most monolingual cultures.

    Children might mix them up at first, and Nora will definitely go through a phase where she will refuse to speak English (wanting to fit in with their peers), but it all stays there and you will get a bilingual adult despite everything!

  • José

    Cute video!
    It’s fascinating how you learn your mother language withot knowing its grammatical rules. I don’t know the grammatical rules involving “Yo se lo doy” I just know what it means and would use it properly if needed. But what are the functions of the words “se” and “lo” there? I just don’t know!