Sunday, May 03, 2009

Words, Words, Words

Erica's had a language explosion recently, starting in NZ so mostly in English. At the moment she seems to be adding a word every day!

We've spent the last week making a list:

Mum, Papa, please, thank you, food, I, yumyum, dog, duck, "cat", bird, bath, poo-poo, wee-wee, Dorothy, "horse", book, ow, um, wow, What is this?, Oh No!, Oh God!, why?, car, toot-toot, beep-beep, shoes, I love you, more, "boobies", (one) two three (five), wheee!, (growls), "monkey", hot, baby, cheese, Cheers!, pretty, (ba)nana, bug, ball, don't, stop, no, go-go-go-, Wiggle, "sad", happy, Amy, Lena, jump, oishii, wash, Where are you?, dance, help, wait!, walk

Sentences: "I food" "Up please" and this morning "more babblebabblebabble I food" "a poo" (while patting her bottom)

Language development is one of my favorite parts of watching a child grow. I find the process so fascinating, so let me waffle on for a bit! Like all Mums I am convinced my child is indeed a genius, but really I don't put much store in things like the age when they do this or that thing. So this is not a skite session or one-upbabyship compared to Erica's other little toddler friends, I'm just interested in the wonderful things all little humans are capable of doing.

I'm intrigued by how she expands the meaning of each word she picks up to cover several similar situations, for example calling other men 'pappa'. This can easily be dismissed as the baby being dumb and not knowing the difference, but I think they do know the difference, it's just that their drive to communicate is so strong that they'll use whatever they have in their repertoire to achieve it - this is why learning baby signs tends to support language development, not result in a delay. She'll say the word, sign, use other gestures, and if all else fails, stamp her feet and cry! Obviously my job is to get what she means before she gets to that stage!

Other examples of word expansion Erica's doing include 'bath' for any water, including rivers and lakes, the toilet and the whole Pacific Ocean; 'hot', which she uses mostly to talk about food, to say she doesn't like food; 'book' to refer to other toys and games and play in general; and most annoyingly (since I have to answer enthusiastically each time to encourage her) 'MUM!' also apparently means 'look' and 'hey!'.

Of course there are occasions when she is genuinely confused, like 'duck' for all large birds, and 'ball' for organes and tomatoes! Over the long weekend, she wasn't happy with just my reassurance that her tomato was indeed food, she had to check with several other adults first. She went round, holding up her tomato and babbling away at people, with the words 'ball' and 'what' popping up, and when each of them in turn assured her it was a 'tomato' and 'food' she finally bit it!

No comments: