At the library today as I practiced language skills with the girls, I managed not only to be outdone by the girls but also to lose what meager skills I have in any language.
So we're on a roll, going back and forth, and then suddenly Rachel interjects a translation on her own. An accurate one.
I have given her virtually no instruction in Esperanto. She's drilled me on some of my vocabulary, and she's heard me make simple requests in Esperanto, but otherwise it's stuff she's overheard me explaining to her fratino or she's picked up from our impromptu conversations.
So my brain pops the clutch over that one. I wrestle it back into gear, and then suddenly Evangeline starts correcting my grammar. "You forgot to add the -N!" she wails. (It's true. I keep forgetting to add the -N for the accusative case.)
Then I realize that while I'm using words I've learned from the more advanced lessons that Evangeline hasn't reached, she is having no trouble following me. Demandi is an infinitive; theoretically, all Evangeline should know is the verb forms. In practice, she's already converted it into a noun, demando/n, and doing the same with other verbs.
I used to be ahead of her, mostly because I am the teacher, and so I need to understand it if I'm going to teach her. I now realize that my vocabulary is slightly larger, probably because I'm already bilingual and know a smattering of French and Spanish to boot, but she is rapidly eclipsing whatever advantage I have. Her brain is wired right now for language acquisition, while for me it's work.
So much work that my language center finally seized up and stopped working completely. We were having a little back-and-forth in Esperanto when I said, "Jodia estas los compleanos de your grandfather."
The girls looked at me like I made no sense. Which I didn't -- in four different languages. I had mashed them all together into one coherent statement that made sense only to me.