Saturday, January 16, 2010

Language Acquisition

I never got around to making a list of all the words Valerie says until a couple of weeks ago, and I think I missed my window. I got up to 60 words, and I spent the entire next day going "Oh yeah, I forgot about that word," so I'm guessing her word list is actually over a hundred. And she's learning new words every day, so I think I'll just stick with the impartial list I have, and not sweat it too much. Suffice it to say, Valerie likes to talk.

One of the things Valerie says a lot is "wawa," which means any one of four different things, depending on intonation and accompanying signs. "Wawa" with hands outstretched means she wants me to hold her hands so she can "walk." "Wawa" along with the sign for "wash" means she wants a bath. "Wawa" accompanied by wagging her head back and forth means "penguin" (because I don't know what penguins say, so I told her that penguins "waddle waddle.") And "wawa" on its own, or accompanied by the sign for "drink," means she wants a drink.

I often let Valerie watch Pingu while I make breakfast, but the other morning we were running late for a meeting, so we were going to eat on the run, and didn't have time for Pingu. Valerie kept pointing at the TV and saying the "wawa" that means "penguin." I knew she wanted me to put Pingu on, but I was in a hurry, so I played dumb and offered her a drink. She asked again, and I played dumb again. Then she got quiet for a few seconds, concentrating really hard, then she said, "watch wawa." It makes me wonder how big her hidden vocabulary must be. Maybe I should play dumb more often and see.

1 comment:

EarthenForge said...

Once she learns to add "go to" in front of her favorite versatile word she will unlock its true power, leading her to the magical world of tasty hoagies, slushies, and other convenience store delights.