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16 June 2015 @ 11:30 am
6 months later  
The progress is phenomenal. Not only in English but in Slovene too. And of course in French, which he gets in creche. In fact until about two weeks ago we had never heard him speak French but now he occasionally prefers to say something in French. He sometimes prefers to say 'j'ai froid' rather than I'm cold, for example. And today, hilariously, he started singing a Slovene song deliberately pronouncing the Rs in a French way.

On the subject of singing. Alex loves it and sometimes even sings himself to sleep. He's at a stage where he's such a chatterbox that doesn't spend much time with his mouth shut! I sometimes get the impression that he fills in the silence with songs he's learnt. It's not perfectly in tune but it's not far off. I love the fact that if he doesn't know the word he'll make an approximation of how that word sounds. This calls to mind the books he reads, which contain some words I know he hasn't seen before but he makes sure I say every word when I'm reading, even if he doesn't understand everything. Books are so similar to songs for him: it's like a ritual of recital that we go through together.

He expresses himself really beautifully now and his grammar is remarkably good. He's got a really good grasp of past, present and future - inevitably with mistakes but generally very impressive. He knows that if something happened prior to now you have to put a past tense marker in. So this morning I heard 'I drawed it'. He also uses auxiliaries did/didn't really well. He'll say 'I did go' or 'he didn't went' etc but this of course is part of learning and I wouldn't dream of correcting him. He'll learn by osmosis and life isn't a classroom, at least not in any formal sense. His future tends to be 'I'm gonna...' and he's absolutely nailed the present continuous now.

One thing I love is the way he's not always mega-noisy (though he is most of the time!). He's capable of speaking quietly and seems to find it amusing. Last night I wasn't feeling well, so he came into the lounge and asked in such a gentle voice 'are you not well daddy?'

You can tell he loves improving his vocabulary. He's forever apeing (parrotting?) what I say, and seems to play with new words as though they were new toys. It's such a joy. So when I say 'the trouble is...' he'll repeat that with exactly my intonation. Talking of intonation,...

Alex has a very good ear. When I ask him to ask me nicely for things, rather than just shout 'I want X', he gives me a perfectly intoned 'Can I have some X?' ...including the high eyebrows! A lot of his previous difficulties, or should I say grapplings, with pronunciation have largely been ironed out. And i love the way he enunciates every letter, even when he's got it slightly wrong, e.g. he pronounces suitcase as 'soupcase', which is kind of sweet.

His English is better than his Slovene these days - language comes more naturally in English - understandably as he gets Slovene only from his mum. But Mateja is consistent and persistent and he always responds in Slovene when pushed. One thing about his English, though, is that it is occasionally influenced by Slovene syntax, so you get phrases like 'it's coming the train' and 'to the park I want to go'. And more recently there's French interference, with things like 'me I want to play football'.

Some of his utterances are really quite complex and he's attempting more and more conditionals, for example. It's usually a repetition of a sentence he's heard, which after all is the best way to learn: 'If you do that I will be very angry'.

There are tantrums and troubles to go with it but gosh this is a fun age.