Saturday, December 12, 2009

This week's mystery


Japanese speakers will see this and recognize it as somewhere between 'big brother' and 'demon'. This little word, uttered by our two-year old, has been our collective family mystery for the last few weeks. Erica is articulate and has an impressive vocabulary (of course!) but she is also, of course, only just gone two, so most of what she says is incomprehensible babble. Including this little gem.

She has no big brothers, so it can't be that. And when she talks about real 'oni' demons, she adds 'kowai' or 'scary' and hides behind someone. Then I thought it might be Jiichan, if Aunty Toyoko called him o-niichan (big brother), but she doesn't, she calls him 'shatcho' (boss). It wouldn't be such a mystery if she didn't use it ALL the time!

Then finally the penny dropped.

I went upstairs to get her one night when she was crying, and when I entered the room I clearly heard her say 'I neeed you!'. Or, 'aniiju'.

She's saying 'I need some'. Now that's we've clicked, we've noticed that she says it when she's hungry, or wants something.

It's all English, and I was just imagining that she was speaking Japanese. And to think, I get annoyed at strange baachans who assume she's speaking English because they can't understand her babble. Oops.

Ms. Onichan, mystery solved.

Her sisters are known as Ms. 'wait!' and Ms. 'That's What I Thought'. (Lena and Amy respectively)


Lulu said...

That is quite funny- I guess I never really realized that it could be hard to decipher if it is Japanese or English she is trying to express herself in!

She sounds as if she has quite impressive language skills for a 2 year old- stringing words together etc. Were her sisters the same at that age? I guess it certainly helps that she has her older sisters to guide her.

Glad you solved the mystry!

anchan said...

How cute! It certainly makes life that little bit easier when we can work out what are little ones are trying to tel us, eh? M's favourite code word is 'mamaman'... which works out as 'Anpanman' and actually means that she wants a snack (there was a picture of Anpanman on a packet of senbei ages ago and it stuck)!

Rachel said...

Same here! Mamman meant Anpanman (she says Anpanma now) and it MEANS rice with furikake, because the furikake has Anpanman on the packet!