Luke’s first word was ‘ball’, and now he’s coming out with a bunch of Greek words, like ‘nai’ (yes), ‘óchi’ (no) and ‘pa’ (short for ‘papoủtsi’). [Note on Greek transcription – the marks over the vowels are just to give an idea of where the work is stressed – different marks don’t mean anything more than they were the only ones I could find in the first font I stumbled upon.]
If the truth be known, Greek helped that first English word be born. The Greek for ‘ball’ is ‘bálla’ and the first word Luke came out with was ‘ba’ – perhaps the fact that the beginning of the Greek and English words were the same made it easier for him. I then repeated ‘ball’ to him every time we played over the holidays, until finally he rounded the word out with an ‘l’.
Incidentally, over these holidays, I spoke to Lee for the first time in Greek. We were staying with Greek friends who have a daughter her age, and when I wanted to talk to them both, I decided to dispense with the ‘say it in English to Lee, then Greek to her companion’. She was surprised; even though she knows I speak Greek, us two having a Greek conversation struck her as odd – but in a good way, I think. She’s going to a French school this year, so soon we may me speaking French together – though my French is far worse than my Greek.