Monday, March 21, 2011

Language is a Virus That Comes From Outer Space

Of all the developmental stages the development of language is one of the most fascinating, I think.

This little person who has been relying on us to pick up his cues now has the ability to direct us to pretty much exactly what he wants. Oliver is undergoing a language explosion currently: I noted last evening between 6 and 8pm he picked up two entirely new words ("pop" as in his grandfather, and "thunder" (thunna) as in the meteorological phenomenon). If I stopped to count he probably has several more every day.

Up to about two weeks ago he was only using single words. For example he would point at Ernie's tail and say either "Long!" or "Tail!", but never the two together. But then at dinner one night we could hear a bird squawking loudly in the back yard (I think it was a cockatoo). "Noisy!" He said

"Yes," I say "It's a noisy bird, isn't it."

-click, whirr, clunk-

"Noisy. Bird. Noisy. Bird"... "Noisy, bird. Noisy, bird."

Now pretty much everything he says has a modifier of some sort- eg "Up bird" was a bird he saw on top of a house, and he loves his "rainboo pants" (a pair of rainbow-striped leggings I bought on impulse).  He also comes out with some pretty complete sentences- as in subject object verb. A week or so ago he led (at different occasions) both MrT and I out of the house (holding our fingers) saying "Catch train?". Two nights ago as I zipped up his Grobag he said "Bye bye feet" and then in the morning "Fank- oo bag". "Ope(n) diss" is a command he repeats with alarming regularity (toy boxes, peanut butter jar, pencil boxes).

There are a few words that he uses that I'm pretty sure weren't in his big brother's vocab at a similar age. Things like  "MINE!" and "turn" (as in, I want my ~), and "Soww-ee" (Sorry). He also has Ollie-isms, like "Yup" for yes, "No-way!" when a plain old "No" would do. He says Pleas and Fank-oo beautifully, as well as "Oh dear" and "Whoops" like a pro.

And he sings. It's gorgeous:
"Tinkle star, tinkle star
Howwai wonda wa- aa- aar
Appa buvva worl-la eye
La la dii-man dinna sy
Tinkle star, tinkle star"

Tinkle star. From now on, for me, stars tinkle, not twinkle.

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