Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Language of 2 Year Olds


More than 3 months left to go before my son turns 2 and I am still amazed at how much he understands even though he still can't convey his thoughts and wants into full sentences...yet. What he does do--and very well I might add--is point to what he wants while simultaneously uttering the sound or sounds the object makes. For me, its taken months to assimilate his "vocabulary" so that I can better communicate with him. To better facilitate this, I decided to make a list of these "word sounds". Since I'm not a virtuoso in this style of communication, a handy guide was needed in finding the exact word that illustrates the specific sound I was looking for that my son uses. That's where the list of onomatopoeia at "Wiktionary" became very helpful. This also helps in keeping my pronouciation of these sounds at work to a minimum. After all, reproducing random gutteral sounds from my 21 month old's vocabulary in a professional work environment isn't conducive to long term employment.

Let's take a look at some of these onomatopoeia that my son has perfected:

Any motorized vehicle--heck, any machine that burns combustible fuel--is of course "vroom, vroom, urruum.....". No big surprise here. Although my son's Fisher Price 4-Wheeler doesn't burn gasoline, the "vroom, vroom, urruum....." works here too.

A train or truck (18 wheeler) is "Umm, Umm" which is said by detaching each word from the other in a distinctly separate manner. It's said while pulling a phantom horn with his right hand from above. This one is ONLY for a truck or train and should not be confused with "vroom, vroom".

My cordless drill is "Eeeeeeeeee" with a crescendo from the start to the fifth "e" which is held for a few seconds or until he runs out of breath whatever fits his fancy at the time.

The coffee maker is "Blah-la" created by sticking your tongue hitting your upper lip as it exits your mouth--the "blah"--and then quickly pulling it back in hitting your upper lip as it retreats--the "la". All of which occurs in about a half of a second. He also uses this to identify a few animals and inanimate objects such as a frog, cat, snake and clock. This poses a real problem when you in the kitchen and ALL THREE ANIMALS are standing under the clock which creates a huge challenge trying to figure out what one he's referring to not to mention how they all got there seeing how we only own a clock.

My drum set is "boom, boom". No detailed pronunciation description needed. He has also used the old "boom, boom" when something else has gone "boom, boom" like a backfiring car or an appliance that suddenly blows up...not that that's happened.

Any food that he doesn't like or some object either in the garbage or some to be placed in the garbage is referred to as "BLAH". All kids use this one. Remember to drag out the "AH" part for a half second or so to really place emphasis on how incredibly yucky the object in question really is. The pronunciation has to be convincing or else it will be looked at as...well, "blah".

One of the first sounds that my son incorporated into his lexicon was a straight up "grow"l. This word "growl" is used so often in real language that it probably shouldn't be classified as an onomatopoeia. aNYWAY, I think he picked this one up from me one day when I was disgusted about something and I sighed. He interpreted it as a "growl" where it has been used to identify dogs ever since. Of course, when he's not too happy, he'll "growl" to show dissatisfaction.

And last but certainly not least, the king of all toddler onomatopoeia, the mother of all little kid words:

POOP

Yes, he loves to say it even when its not really necessary. If your in the bathroom, he points to the toilet and he says, "POOP". When your walking around in the backyard, he'll point to the grass and say, "POOP. When you tell him to take off his shoes, he points to the treads and says, "POOP". A bird flies off of the deck and it leaves some white residue, he points and says, "POOP". He finds a Tootsie Roll and says, "POOP". This word has become interchangeable for basically all objects in the house and in the yard. Whether or not it's accurate is immaterial. The word "POOP" just works and my son is the king of its usage. Now you ask him if he has indeed "pooped" in his diaper and he will flat out lie to you in a cleverly orchestrated maneuver designed to let the "poop" stew in there until I build up enough gumption to change it.

Once he starts saying "tintinnabulate" then my wife and I are in trouble.

1 comment:

Tavia said...

Well said.