Denseman on the Rattis

Formerly known as the Widmann Blog


Dyr look like animals

Originally uploaded by Spider.Dog

A few days ago, I removed a few bricks that had been placed on top of the lawn for a while, and beneath there were plenty of centipedes, worms, spiders, ants and woodlice.

Léon was watching with great interest, and afterwards he went in to tell Phyllis:

– Mum, there were dyr under the stenene, and they looked like animals!

It so typical of a bilingual kid to know the same word in two languages (here “dyr” and “animals”), but not to equate them. Fully bilingual kids are normally crap at translating literally.

5 thoughts on “Dyr look like animals

  • Harry Campbell

    Surely this is just code-switching rather than translating as such. I’d have thought it was commonplace. Certainly in my mother’s family, brought up in a bilingual English/Welsh environment, often did/do it.

    Unless Leon was just using a very archaic sense of the English “deer”. ;-]

  • Harry Campbell

    It looks as if the centipedes are trying to spell out some kind of message in, what is it, Hebrew? Armenian?

  • They kind of spell out “ae” in Georgian… 🙂
    Anyway, yes, most of it is normal code-switching, the translation bit was just when he said the animals in Danish look like animals in English.

  • Harry Campbell

    OK, I think I see what you mean about translating/equating. Has he internalised dyr with a more specific meaning than animals (something like “creepy-crawlies”)? Sorry if I’m being slow but what else would they look like but animals?

  • It’s a good question. I guess he’s encountered “animal” much more often than “dyr” (simply because he speak English more often), so perhaps “dyr” has a more specialised meaning to him?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *