By Diane Ako
One day I came home from work and told Olivia I had a little gift for her. "Tengo un regalito para ti!" I said.
It's been five years and Claus and I have picked up each other's language by dint of repetition. I can understand most of the Danish commands he gives her (so if lost in Denmark, I can request a diaper or milk), and likewise for Claus with my rudimentary Spanish (he can avoid a time out or ask for ice cream). I know some words, and what I can give her, I'd like to give her.
He must know what "tengo" means. He was thinking about "regalito."
"Is that a cookie?" he guessed.
Actually, the gift was a cookie, so at first I was thrown off. Then I realized he was trying to learn Spanish.
"It's a gift," I said. "Actually, it's regalo. You add -ito or -ita as a diminutive form to indicate smallness or affection. Like, Carlo becomes Carlito."
I continued in the theme. "While we're talking about endings, adding -ote or -ota indicates contempt or large size."
He thought about this for a while.
"I'm sure this is not what Ken Ito had in mind for his name," he said dryly.
Zing! Ridiculous husband.