Tuesday, March 8, 2022

SOLSC 2022 #8 - On language


It is March 2022 and time for the
Every single day, for all thirty-one days of March,
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I am musing about language development today...

Poppa asked Bird - "Do you want to go outside?" and Bird quickly toddled to the door. "First, let's get your socks and shoes...and your jacket," Poppa added. One by one, with coaching, Bird collected her clothes for going outdoors. Pretty impressive for a 15-month old! When she was dressed for the outside, she stood at the door and insisted 'baba!' (bubbles). Wow! We had been outside earlier in the morning, using wands and blowing bubbles; she had remembered and hoped to do so again. 

Listen to this - she is now directing us, rather than simply echoing or following our lead!

For much of her infancy, Bird was very quiet. I made the (quite false) assumption that this quieter manner was her personality. I think for months all I could really hear was her talkative big sister Frog (now 3 1/2 years old). As it turned out, as soon as Bird began toddling/walking, she erupted with sounds. She has become one noisy little friend - busy, curious, and
a steady stream of gobbledygook. 
She has become loud and chatty, and it is really funny. 

There are lots of nonsense words. She has far fewer 'real' words than Frog did at this age (and, yes, I know, I shouldn't be comparing). The pediatrician told her parents that this is typical of a second child, especially if the older sibling is chattering, explaining, and basically doing all the talking for them. It is clear that Bird has good comprehension of our words, as evidenced by the running around she did for Poppa before going outside. 

Here are some of the words I hear from her frequently - her favorite 'wants':

craka (cracker)

rabi (raspberry)

baNA (banana)

Fsh (fish) 

Sh (shoe)

Da (duck or dog)

haw (hot) 

ha (hat)

air (Chair)

Poppa (I honestly haven't heard her say my name - she loves her Poppa!)

Another tangent on language - isn't it funny how children mix up words sometimes? Frog has this hysterical confusion over the word "pinecone" - she invariably refers to it as "cannoli." Hahaha I have no idea when she ever even had a cannoli, but the substitute came and it is very endearing. I love this so much!!

I can remember each of my children making some pretty sweet slips of the tongue when they were young, too:

  • Frog and Bird's Dad, my oldest son, called a lawnmower a "Molly-or" for years.
  • Uncle W, my second son, used to talk about going up and down the stairs, and instead of saying "up and down," he said - I kid you not - he said "Habitrol" hahaha (His aunt was trying to quit chain smoking when he was a toddler/preschooler - this med was a frequent conversation topic...somehow the idea merged, and he simply couldn't shake it...so funny.)
  • my youngest son, Uncle B, received lots of ribbing from his brothers for calling the basement "the bagel," when he was little.

I can go back into my own childhood and think of more slips -

  • I remember my whole family teasing me/echoing me, when toddler me said "oble-lay" instead of "over there"...for years and years, if "over there" was the answer to your question about where something was, this was the loud retort - OBLE LAY!
  • My younger brother had a "bee-ka-ma" rather than a blanket.

This is just the fun cycle of learning language, I suppose! What about you/your loved ones - any funny language slips?


  1. We can learn so much about learning everything by learning about language acquisition. I can’t help but think of the paradigm shift we put kids through; we accept their learning language w/ humor and praise but expect perfection in their learning the older they get. I love “hearing” bBirc through your words. She’s a little chirped w/ lots to say. Watch out!

  2. An absolute delight to read, Maureen. The process of language acquisition is utterly fascinating - seems almost magical, doesn't it? My youngest son had many invented words. His first attempt at saying "I love you" came out as "Lowee" or "Lowees". To this day, our family says Lowees to one another when hanging up the phone, texting, or signing cards. Marvelous post; love your little Bird and Frog!