12 October 2010
The heritage language learning session...
It hadn't been easy to find the time to teach the kids their heritage language. But my eldest, after finishing her national year 6 exam, UPSR, insisted that I really should make time on the weekend. Encouraged by her determination to be able to speak Dusun again (once when she was a little girl, she used to speak Dusun with her Dusun nanny), I struggled to find the time. The sessions turned out to be good...when only the daughters participated.
Last week, the 6 going 7 year old son decided to join in. All because among the three of them he was the one who could memorize all the colour terms (and he thought he was the greatest of them all!). So we started our session with a revision on the past lessons. Then the daughters requested to learn more words. Eldest daughter had her own ideas of how a language should be learned. "Do it in topics, mom", she kept insisting. Second daughter was contented to listen and repeat. But the boy was another story. "Mom, what's "bum" in Dusun?", was his first question. Thinking that if I ignore him he would come up with more such questions, I gave him the answer. To my horror, he went on and on asking, "what's nose-hair,...what's ear-hair..., what's armpit hair...what's poop...what's urine...?" And the girls had had enough that they sent him out of the "classroom". Being the cheeky boy that he is, he said "but I know how to say "private" in Dusun...it's "tontolou" (man's private part), resulting in the girls shrieking disgustedly at him.
Oh my! I have no idea whether his interest in those things is due to him being a 6 year old boy or simply due to him being a male. But undeniably my "classroom" progressed better without the boy.