DH left for the US after settling us down in Bangalore and we mom and daughter began our routine. Little K began fitting in with her peers just fine. She seemed to be adjusting well to her new environment and I was relieved. Two months passed and it was time for me to travel to the US one last time to co-ordinate my international move. DH decided to meet us in Paris and spend a week together in France before we traveled to the US. He greeted us as we got out in Paris. K was excited on seeing her Dad and jumped onto him with all the stories she had for him. But wait a minute, he looked really confused and then looked at me in disbelief. I didn’t get it initially. Then he wanted to know why she spoke grammatically incorrect English! K had totally forgotten her English Grammar and was now speaking what I call Kanglish (the Kannada English). I smiled and told him “What can I do everyone around her talks like that only no?” Well you can imagine his confusion. First of all, he is an advocate of talking Malayalam alone amongst ourselves. I’m the more relaxed parent and let her occasionally slip up. And now, he wanted her to correct her grammar, well how could she. She spoke to me “Amma, tell Achan that I talking correct English only.” There he was, almost rolling on the ground with laughter. Throughout our stay in France, K amused him with her Kanglish/Manglish/Tanglish (Thanks to our Telugu neighbors, she picked up the Telugu version of the language as well.). Poor DH, he could not believe his ears. He kept asking her to correct her English grammar (and adding “Talk to Amma in Malayalam” at the end of each of his lectures). Poor confused kid does not even know what grammar is. Anyway, she stopped using the words only or no at the end of every sentence. I tried to refine my grammar too. I can’t imagine slipping up on a blog for the whole world to read!
We got back to Dallas and little A from next door came to play. Voila, K suddenly started speaking the best English I’ve heard from her in months. But wait a minute, it was not only a change in grammar, she switched her accent back as well. Then I realized a simple truth. The little one switched her accent (and her grammar along with that) in the process of “fitting in” with her friends in Bangalore. Back in the US, she started using her Firangi accent and of course the grammar that came with it. Little kids are versatile and adaptable. They are also quick learners. They can learn Kanglish, Manglish and Tanglish along with Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and all other Indian languages quickly when they move back to India from the US. Can DH complain? I don’t know. I think she’ll eventually get her English grammar back. Until then, I’m going to hope and pray only that she adjusts to the new life. I am right, no?
Prerana's Ramblings by Prerana Muralidhar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.