Pigeon English


Let me tell you, it’s hard growing up as a bilingual when you are only five years old. You have double the amount of words to remember and the grown ups need to suspect expect that there will be mix ups.

The other day is a good example.

I asked Mama what pigeons eat. I was a little worried. They come quite close when we’re walking through the town, hand in hand, and they sometimes have that I-would-like-to-bite-you look in their eyes.

Mama researched it on the internet for me. She told me they like worms (yuck) and insects (yuck yuck) and fruit (yum) and grains (what?).

I felt a little sick as Mama questioned me on what pigeons eat. It seems, I had good reason, not only do they eat worms. They also eat BRAINS!!

I responded, “Worms and insects and brains.”

I forgot about the fruit. To be honest, I was too busy thinking about how close to the ground my head is. It was alright for Mama, sat there, laughing. She’s tall. The pigeons would have to fly quite high to reach her…

Grains not brains. GGGGrains.”

“What’s grains?”

I noticed then the difference in the sound of the words and I can tell you I was rather relieved.

She babbled on about what grains are and really, I’m not sure what she was talking about, but I didn’t want to make that horrifying mistake again, so I said out loud to myself:

“Akasha, Akasha, Grains not brains. Grains not brains.”

Mummy laughed again. But she seemed to be crying too. How could she be happy and sad at the same time?

Today, on the way to Kindergarten nursery Mama asked me if I’d told my teacher what pigeons eat. I hadn’t. So she asked me if I remembered what pigeons eat.

I told her, “Worms and cranes.”

I realized my mistake straight away. I shook my head from side to side and corrected myself, “No, no, that’s the building thing. Grains not cranes.”

I think my Mama is quite a happy person. She laughs a lot of the time…