Up until this move, Michael (8) didn't really speak any Chinese. In his school here, he's started taking Chinese class. It's been fun to hear him start to use a few words here and there.
Today in the car on the way home from school, he lit into Andrew (11) with a set of Chinese insults. He started with some common Chinese insults (like "stupid egg", "silly melon", and such) and then started improvising by combining words he had learned (e.g. "apple head", "butt head", etc.) He then starting improvising sentences with insults (e.g. "You are an apple head.")
I think something like 75% of the Chinese words he knows are insults or can be combined into insults. He's surprisingly fluent for a guy with a week of Chinese class under his belt (although I suspect he is not learning these words in class.) Our driver, normally pretty stoic, almost exploded laughing.
Everyone learns in their own way; I think the "salty seaman" approach is Michael's.