Friday, March 11, 2011

Language Acquisition

My daughter - MY daughter, duh - talks a mile a minute.  BabbleBabbleBabbleBabbleBabbleBabbleBabble all day long, lately. For about the last month. My theory is her mouth is powered by her legs- they are now walking, so her mouth has jumped ahead to running.

(Woe to anyone who ever tries to shut her up.)

She doesn't have many words that we understand yet. Cat. Daddy.  Her versions of those. She understands other words? Balloon? Her eyes go to the balloon.  Bring your monkey. Over comes the monkey - though more precisely, over comes to the toy next to her which is, in this case, the monkey.  I tried to get her to say balloon a few nights ago. Ba ba ba ba ballooooon, Fidgey. Ba ba ba balloooon, Fidge.  The closest we got was her definite mimic of the way one's lower jaw would drop and lips would smack with the sound ba.  Then she toddled off, far more interested in the actually balloon than the word representing it.

I've always been fascinated by language.  Linguistics is a cool word. A cool subject. How do we command these sounds into words and into common experiences and understandings. Have I ever really read the Iliad because I've only ever read translations? Can a poem really work outside its native tones?

Of all the reasons I sometimes wish I could be home more often with her, language is top most right now.  By this time next year, I hope, she'll be expressing herself with words. Asking questions.  We won't hear these awesome babbly sounds anymore.  She'll trade her language for ours. I can't wait to hear what she has to say.

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