Daddy-N is a news-aholic. And WCB has been an opportunity for him to research child development stuff galore. He came up with this cool stuff recently about language development. In order to respect copyright law, I am unable to paste the specific paragraphs/sections he refers to in his post, and the referenced web page has very sparse navigation options. I have done my best to direct you to the right parts of this very long article he is talking about. Enjoy! OLM
I got curious and googled some on infant language. Thought I’d share some interesting excerpts from Daniel Kies‘ work below. WCB seems way ahead of the curve discussed in the chronology listed in this excerpt [5 paragraphs above this section, both physically and linguistically – but there are some interesting findings that could be helpful. I’m often certain, for example, that WCB is trying hard to tell us things sometimes that we’re just not getting.
I think we should try to pay more attention to one of the points under Communication before Language [10th – 13th paragraphs under the Crying, Cooing, & Babbling header] that “prosodic” features like pitch & intonation are used much more by infants than the actual consonants and vowels chosen. They give the example of how for one child “MA-ma” meant “mother” and “ma-MA” meant ‘father” – perhaps WCB is already saying “mother” intentionally by some variation of her “da’s,” and there might even be a distinction already between Daddy-O & Daddy-N somewhere in there.
On the other side of the language equation, the other day I had a profound revelation about just how much language WCB understands, even though she won’t be able to make her own language on the same level for a long time to come. I told WCB, “you have a sock on your tunnel!” – and she turned to look exactly at the sock on her play tunnel. Surprised, I decided to test her, and said, “can you bring me the sock?” And she immediately got the sock and handed it to me! (And no, I wasn’t using hand gestures or in any way indicating my meaning with hand signals.)* I find this fascinating especially given that she hardly ever wears socks, and the tunnel is pretty new to her, so both words have sunk in with little apparent effort.
Thus this excerpt about interacting verbally with little’uns [under Preconditions for Language Learning – 3rd-5th paragraphs under the Social Preconditions header] is worth paying attention to soon, as well. It implies that we need to focus on semantic expansion rather than just grammatical expansion when we repeat things back to her.
*Isn’t Daddy N a proud papa? I think he’s just dying to talk with her. I know *I* wish I could know what she is thinking with that serious little face – or wanting with that frustrated-sounding “DAHT daht DAHT!” OLM