About La Mother Tongue

La Mother Tongue is my medium to share the joys and challenges of being a new parent as well as to share how we make a conscious effort in our daily life to bring baby up bilingual.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Sofía has nicknames, apodos, which she uses for her familia and amigos. At first, I wasn’t sure if apodos would be the correct name to call it because I wasn’t sure if she could pronounce some of the names completely and that was the way the words were coming out of her mouth or if she was making a choice to say the names. Most of them are apodos with the few exceptions of certain sounds like ‘F’ when it is followed or preceded by certain vowels.

Anyway, here they are:

Tía Emma – a real name. But her husband is Luis Miguel whom Sofía refers to as Tío Emma.

Tía – is my sister, her only blood related Tía.

Tío or Tío Sisipe - is Tío Felipe.

Tío Cisco – is Tío Francisco. Tío Francisco has a son that they call Cisco. Sofía learned his name immediately and decided that the rest of the family should have his name too. Cisco’s sister, Bianca is also called Cisca. (At least Sofía has grasped the concept of gender…amazing isn’t it! Some of these grammatical “rules” are innate according to Linguists.

Lolo – is Abuelo. Sofía can say ‘abuelo’ when she wants to, she just likes Lolo.

Primo Ryan- is Sofía’s cousin whom she has only seen twice, but has for some reason stuck in her head. She talks about him all the time. Very funny.

Yun-ka-ka – is my Dutch friend, and mother of Sofía’s friend Marnix. Her name is Jonneke.

Baby Nachi- is Nacho the gato, whose name was Sofía’s first word.

Fufu-isthe other gato, Fulanito, or Fufu for short. Sofía is funny when she makes the ‘F’ sound in Fufu. She doesn’t verbalize it with an open mouth, it is almost as if she says it through her nose---there is no open mouth or lips moving and you can hear the air escape through her nostrils.

I’m always Mami, but Papi can be Papi or Papito depending on her mood! Oh…and we can’t forget her stuffed peluche el perro. His name is Perro, but Sofía NEVER says the name Perro. She either signs, “dog”, or calls him, “Wuf Wuf”!
I'm sure there will be more to come soon!

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