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little people learning to talk

I've read that humans have an abnormally large chunk of brain dedicated to communication, it's incredibly important to us. We even made trade-offs for it, for instance the part of the brain for smelling things is totally downgraded in humans, my guinea pigs put smelling right up front in both their brains and general priority list in life. my dog... i'm not sure what's going on in her brain. tail wagging, mostly.

Anyway this is all stuff I think about when observing josie learning how to talk, it's really cool how little kids pick up on stuff from us. Researchers once encouraged deaf parents to just leave the TV on for their kids, maybe they'd pick up english like they were being talked to? It didn't work. It takes social interaction. I thought english would be learned in "sets of words", ie I show her a ball and say ball, now she knows "ball", but it's way more than that, she knows things that we don't teach her.

She uses filler words, her favorites are "well" and "just"... ie, I'll say we're out of chocolate milk and she'll pause a moment and start "Well... just... have to buy some from the store!" I remember learning spanish and being really surprised that in other languages, there are words that are just to fill the silence while we're thinking.

She's shortening things. We taught her to say "thank you" early on, really stressing it, always saying it to her, telling her to say it. Now we'll hand her something and she'll automatically say "Thanks!" and move on. She also stopped calling us "mama" and "daddy" when we're together and just says "you guys".

She sounds EXACTLY like marc when she pretends to talk on the phone, complete with "hey man" and "nothing" unfortunately she won't actually talk on the phone, totally freezes and barely whispers when we put her on for a real person... skype is a huge hit with parents these days, my friend says her daughter froze up and wouldn't talk to grandma until she was like FIVE but adding video makes it okay. Who knows what the difference is.

She picked up pronouns oddly well. Our parents-as-teachers lady said people make a mistake of talking to toddlers like caveman ("mama give josie more drink?") and it holds them back, try to work "you" and "me" into sentences, so we did. the computer programmer in me assumed this would be TOTALLY confusing, that when someone says "Would you like..." the correct response is "I'd like..." but josie's cool with it, says "I" all the time. Her "you" sounds like "ooo" so she's always coming up with stuff like "ooo want to play in my room?" or "ooo want to dance with me?" and it's pretty adorable.

Not really communication but social... we were going to a restaurant and she rattled off what we'd all be drinking. "I want lemonade, mama drinks water, daddy drinks ice tea". It's like the things we don't tell HER are the ones she remembers the best.

The biggest "kid" thing I see, the difference between her and an adult, it that she repeats everything. Her response to "do you want some juice?" is "yes I want some juice!". Or if you just say "We're going to the store to buy salad" she'll say the whole thing back... "We're going to the store to buy salad." Like she's working it all out. She narrates everything. She doesn't remember a whole lot yet, she can't really tell me much about what she did during the day when I get home from work, except may to tell me some "right" things like "I ate my sandwich all gone!" but at least she's got something to say. It's mostly in the moment stuff where we get the ongoing running commentary.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
chezmax
Dec. 23rd, 2012 04:20 pm (UTC)
my friend says her daughter froze up and wouldn't talk to grandma until she was like FIVE but adding video makes it okay. Who knows what the difference is.

I wonder if that's a lot of toddlers not actually understand there's a person on the other end of the phone, so they're just confused. It doesn't actually correspond to anything in real life. With video though, it probably connects in their brain a lot more that Grandma is right there, kind of like through a window.
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