Proper English and chinese translating

For those of who who have spent any time with us, you know that proper english isn’t one of our highest priorities. It’s not that we don’t value said skill, it’s just that we can be a little casual with grammar, contractions, etc. Our daughter however is a different story. These are some recent quotes:

“shall we go downstairs?”
“Yes, let’s do that.”
“That would be fun”

The “shall we go downstairs” really threw us for a loop. We have watched her add words and phrases on a daily basis but the addition of “shall we” to her repertoire struck us as particularly incongruous. It’s just not something we use and aren’t sure where she picked it up. She sounds like a proper British character right out of a Merchant Ivory production. Given that she first used the phrase one morning about 7am, you can imagine just how gobsmacked we were. We simply burst out laughing.

On a related but different note, we are told increasing by a variety of native Chinese speakers that Li Li is speaking Chinese but we are still somewhat skeptical, if hopeful, because it’s so obvious that Catherine and I want Li Li to be able to speak Chinese and we fear that people are just being polite. Lately when I use a chinese phrase for something Li Li will more often than not translate it into English by saying “that means …..” with a big smile on her face. She hasn’t done any translations from English into Chinese yet but I imagine they are just a few weeks away as she works out what’s english and what’s Chinese.

For the record “high five” in English is roughly translated as “pa shou” in chinese which actually would be translated back into English as “hit hand”. -t