Well, this evening…….. or questa sera, I learned something about my grandson’s language learning. We were going over the picture of a kitchen, calling off things we knew. I went to shift to another part of the picture when he said, “Aspetta”, “Wait”. That astounded me b/c I had taught him that about a month ago. When I say taught, I mean I mentioned it to him; it was not something we used, that he heard or read, only me just saying, “Oh, wait is aspetta.”
So where did that come from so spontaneously? It clearly just popped out when I started to move my finger away from the part of the picture he wanted to focus on. He also caught on right away when I pointed to a tiny flower pot in the picture and said, “Fiore” b/c we call his dog Fiore; he name in English is Flower.
When we finished the lesson, I asked him if he thinks about Italian during the day or anything like that. He replied that he did indeed, at school even. When he’s reading, he looks for words he can translate and so as not to “embarrass” himself in public, he talks to his dog in Italian. I also hear him talking to his brother.
This is an example of the sort of student we might call a 4%er. Now I’ve always complained that 4%er should not be used for learners who actually do learn the language but rather only for those who survive the typical 4 or 5 year language program of grammar instruction. However, it is often used of those who actually do learn the language and don’t we wish all of our students had the motivation of my grandson. He says he wants to go to Italy. I hope his enthusiasm lasts, partly b/c it pushes my meager Italian in the extreme and is good preparation for when we go to Italy to find my long-lost relatives.