You Don't Say
“Nice yifu, mama,” Emmy said to me approvingly the other morning, stroking my pajama top and finding it surprisingly soft. “Nice yifu…”
Yifu is clothes, and while she might have said shuiyi—pajamas—my first thought was to be pleased that she’d grabbed for a Mandarin word at all.
But then I realized she’d used one of each and it started me wondering—is that the result of learning two languages? Or, more likely, the result of regularly listening to me stuff a single Mandarin word into an otherwise English-language sentence? I think I’m messing her up, which means it’s time to step up—I need to be better about constructing and using whole sentences.
“Hao kan de yifu!” (Good looking, your clothes!) isn’t perfect, but it would be a step. For both of us.
(Elmo, as he’s wearing his high heels here, clearly, might be told, “Hao kan de xiezi!)