'How do you spell twenee seven?' asked Sage. I spelled out the letters for him as he wrote them down on a piece of paper where he had drawn twenty-seven circles with his orange coloured pencil. He was playing a game with his sister and had kept track of his score on the paper. Minutes later I hear him asking 'How do you spell twenee?'. I said 'twenty', emphasizing the 't' whilst he insisted it was the number after nineteen, not 'twenty'.
English is no doubt a difficult language for anyone first learning it. The rules seem to change on a whim and letters often do not sound the same in one word as they do in another. Whenever my children ask me to spell something, I encourage them to write it out as they think it should be written. The results are interesting, to say the least, and provide a smile when observed by an adult.
Before Sage asked me about spelling words, Cinnamon started to make a list of 'approved foods' I should make. I had asked her to let me know what she likes by writing it down. Later as I looked at the list on the refrigerator, along with a quick drawing of the food representing the word, I couldn't help but smile. Alphabet soup was 'ABC soop'. Fruits were 'froots'. Carrots were 'carits' whilst rice and beans was interpreted as 'rise and been's'. It was interesting to note how children saw the words they heard in their minds.
My children were fortunate to have been exposed to English as well as German and Croatian before they started school. In some sense it is good, whereas in another sense I'm sure it has contributed to confusion when it came to enunciating words due to differences in sounds of each language.
English was not my first language. I was dropped off at kindergarten at the beginning of the school year with the knowledge of only Croatian (known as 'Yugoslavian' at that time). English was not spoken in our home. Yet somehow I managed to learn the language as a child without the difficulty adults might face when learning English for the first time. Sometimes rules do not make any sense at all. Sometimes we question the path we are traveling. What we really should be doing is to trust the reasons will be revealed in time.