Saturday, June 11, 2011

What do you mean, the kitties don't speak English?

It's so fascinating to me to watch the process of a baby learning language.  The skill is a combination of so many different things.  First there is the physiological process of making sound by moving air through one's vocal cords, and all the numerous elements that into that.  And also is the mental process of recognizing what language signifies.  Certain objects have specific sounds associated with them.  But then once you get past simply naming objects, you learn that invisible things have names too, like "I love you."  I just think the whole thing is so interesting!

Anyway, now that we've gotten the nerdy stuff out of the way, let's move on to the cuteness.  The BabyGirl is in a stage where she immitates every sound she hears.  She doesn't imitate the sound with 100% accuracy, but it's clear enough that you know she's trying, and it's adorable.  When the timer goes off on the microwave, she says, "Beep! Beep!"  When she throws a ball on the floor, she says, "Boom!"

She jibber-jabbers almost all the time.  As she's walking around our condo, or while she's on the floor playing, she keeps up a continuous string of babble.  During a Skype session recently, her Grandpa commented, "Aww, she's really trying to talk!"  The BabyGirl's response to that comment, however, would be, "I'm not TRYING to talk, Grandpa.  I AM talking."  Most of the time she acts as if the things she says make perfect sense.  She'll look me right in the eye and give a long string of sounds, and then pause to wait for my response.  When i don't respond in a timely fashion, she gives a big huff and goes away.

The three of us were at Target the other day and we got into a "Crazy Noises Contest."  It went like this: the BabyGirl said something (in babytalk) totally crazy sounding, and generally pretty loudly.  Then i would make some crazy noises, and we'd go back and forth.  It was hilarous!

During the process of imitating sounds, the thing that we laugh about the most is when she mimics the kitties.  When they say, "Mah-row," she says "mah-row" too!  She copies all the noises they make.  The Professor and i were talking about it, and realized that she has no way to discriminate between the sounds we teach her and the sounds the kitties teach her.  As far as she is concerned, "eye," "book," and "mah-row" are all ligitimate words!  She might be disappointed one day when she finds out that the kitties don't speak our language, and here she is trying so hard to talk like them.

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