Last week, I was in Wal-Mart with Jack. Someone nearby said something to their shopping companion in Spanish. Jack's eyes widened, and he said, "Mommy, why are they talking Spanish?" I suppressed a laugh and tried to think of an appropriate answer for a 3-year-old. Finally, I said, "Well, because that's the way they talk."
Then it occurred to me to be surprised that my 3-year-old understood that our fellow Wal-Mart patrons were speaking a foreign language, let alone knowing that it was Spanish (for indeed it was).
Before Jack could ask more questions (I knew he wouldn't be satisfied with my rather lame response) I asked him, "Jack, how did you know they were speaking Spanish?" He just shrugged and said, "I just do." (I suspect he knew I wouldn't be satisfied with his response.)
Then I asked, "Jack, do you speak Spanish?" He looked at me like I was crazy, and said (with obvious disgust in his voice), "No, mommy." (Duh.) So, I asked, "What language do you speak?" Another shrug.... "I just talk like Jack!" Oh. OK.
So, he knows Spanish when he hears is, but doesn't know what English is. A few days later, when he heard some people speaking in a thick Scottish brogue, Jack giggled, and announced, "Mommy, they are talking Spanish!" Not so smart, are you Jack?
But then again, it did sort of sound like Spanish.....