I asked Miss 6 a question this afternoon, “Do you know how to do this?”
“Know,” she squeaked.
“No? Are you sure?” I inquired.
“Know,” she repeated.
“What do you mean you don’t know? That’s an easy one!” my voice was noticeably a decibel louder by now.
“But I said I know how to do it,” she protested.
This little exchange makes me recall a similar encounter with Miss 11. She was 9 back then and had recently arrived from South Korea. We had to use the electronic dictionary to translate English to South Korean to communicate as she had very little English vocabulary and her mother tongue was way beyond my understanding. Furthermore, she couldn’t make out my Malaysian accent. Anyway, we muddled along well enough.
After explaining a new word or a grammar rule, I would always check her comprehension of the subject matter. I was pretty pleased with her progress as she often responded with a “I know”. It didn’t take me long to figure out that her “I know” actually meant “I no”. Upon my enlightenment, a “Yes, I know” and “No, I don’t know” was immediately established to avoid future miscommunication.
And yet here I am, committing the same slip-up and opening myself up for a “You never learn!” rejoinder from some Miss and Mr Smarty Pants I know.