Linguistic confusion

Apa in Korean

My kids are not fluent in Korean <hang my head in shame> but we speak a few Korean words and expressions around the house.  The kids say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and other simple phrases but they know that they are Korean.  They call their grandmother ‘Halmoni’ but they know that is the Korean word for grandmother, likewise for uncle and aunt.  Apparently this one did not realize that “Apa” is the Korean word for “Dad”! 🙂

I grew up in a Dutch Canadian home and similarly there were a few Dutch words that we always used and it wasn’t until I was a teenager did I realize that they weren’t English!

Did you grow up in a multilingual home?  What words did you think were English?


3 thoughts on “Linguistic confusion

  1. Haha, so cute! I can relate. I grew up in a house of dialects (both my grandmothers speak in dialect from difference provinces), in addition to Chinese and English. When I was about 7-years-old, my mom sent me out to buy something and when I spoke what I thought was Chinese to the seller, he didn’t understand me at all. I repeated my request about three times before I gave up. I relayed what I said to my mom and she clarified that I had used two words from my grandma’s dialect. I didn’t know the difference because my grandma always spoke to me in a mixture of Chinese and dialect, and no one had ever told me they weren’t the same language! So yeah, I never mixed up my English and Chinese but I sure did mix up my Chinese and dialects. To this day, I still forget that my grandmothers speak in dialect until we’re out and about and I see the look of confusion on another Chinese person’s face.

    • I love these kind of stories! My kids will answer “a little bit- jokum” in Korean to their dutch grandparents with out realizing it. 🙂

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