Bilingual Baby – 10 Arabic Words Little Z Learned Overseas

If you’ve been following along my posts lately, you’ll know that I spent 3 months overseas in Palestine with my family. The purpose was for my girls to form a lasting bond with their grandparents and family there as well as to learn to speak Arabic. They do, after all, have to be able to communicate with their Palestinian family members! I knew the older two would quickly soak up the language in the full immersion environment, but it was Zaynab that surprised me most!

Prior to our trip, I’ve always spoke to Zaynab in Arabic and English. My husband and I are fluent in both languages, so it was important to raise our girls to be bilingual as well. Z understood everything I would tell her, but she still wasn’t speaking very much. Her vocabulary blossomed during our trip. With a huge family of relatives around, she was exposed to thousands of new words daily. She took to her favorite words, and hasn’t stopped using them since.

Of course most of her versions are in “Toddler-Speak” and slightly off from the correct pronunciation.

  • Yes

    Yes

    “Ah”

    Translation: Yes.

    Typically the answer received when I ask her if she’s up to no good or if she wants a second cookie.

  • No

    No

    “Lah”

    Translation: No!

    Her answer every time I announce nap time.

  • Go

    Go

    “Ruuh”

    Translation: Go

    Wherever her grandmother went, she would go with her. These two were inseparable.

  • Turn-Turn

    Turn-Turn

    “Dor-dor”

    Translation: Turn-turn

    In an effort to keep the peace between Z and her cousin, we constantly found ourselves repeating this.

  • Love You

    Love You

    “Hibib” Proper pronunciation: “Hibik” (feminine) or “Hibak” (masculine)

    Translation: Love you!

    This tops my list of favorite words she learned. She’ll randomly throughout the day just yell out “Mama, hibib!”

  • Cat

    Cat

    “Beesh” Correct pronunciation: “Biss” (slang)

    Translation: Cat

    Z is very passionate about her love of animals as seen in this slide.

    Don’t worry, no cats were harmed in the making of this image (despite what you may believe judging by the intense look on Z’s face!).

  • Enough

    Enough

    “Alaas” Correct pronunciation: “Khalas”

    Translation: Enough and/or Stop

    Clearly kitty had enough of Z’s passionate embraces.

  • Kiss

    Kiss

    “Moosa” Correct pronunciation: “Bousa”

    Translation: Kiss

    Zaynab is an incredibly affectionate little toddler. She showered all her relatives, big and small with kisses during our trip.

  • Book

    Book

    “Tab” Correct pronunciation: “Ki-tab”

    Translation: Book

    It’s no secret that Zaynab is a bookworm. She loves books being read to her and “reading” them herself.

  • Sleep

    Sleep

    “Naam”

    Translation: Sleep

    Sweet slumber, it knows no language barriers.

 

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