Talking gibberish with your toddler - is it ok?(14 Posts)
DS is 18 months and talks, a lot! But not any language known to me! It's constant and it's like an actual full conversation with hand gestures and everything - very funny. He doesn't say many words yet. So far I've counted 5 or 6: Oorge (= Curious George), Haahoo (from in the nightgarden), baaboo (= boobie), Daddy, bubble and then he does "broombroom" for a car. He is trilingual and I'm a little concerned that all the words he's said so far are in English (I.e. Not mine or DH's mother tongue)..
Anyway, I'm fairly confident in his social and communication skills even though I'm aware of the fact that he doesn't yet say many actual words. He is very sociable and friendly and smiles a lot and very eager to make friends. He also loves singing dancing and can do the games to many of the nursery rhymes like Twinkle twinkle, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Roly Poly, Sleeping Bunnies etc.
What I wonder about is this gibberish language he speaks. I speak it back to him a lot and I'm now wondering if it'll just confuse him and that he might actually think I understand what he's "saying" and that it's a real language. He now speaks it even to strangers when we're out and about. I do of course speak my language to him and I read to him in my language and when we're out walking I might stop to show him things like a tree and say things like "look a tree. The tree is very big" etc. But when he spontaneously starts talkimg his language to me, I often reply imitating the sounds he makes just for the fun of it and I'm now wondering if I'm making it more difficult for him to learn real language..
I think I read somewhere that babies pick up language no matter what. Babies cootchie-cooed over talk just as well as those only exposed to sensible words.
My DD is bilingual and sounds exactly the same as your DS. She just makes sounds for pure enjoyment. But it all helps. They learn what tongue positions produce what noises... it's all useful.
Many thanks for your reply.
It makes sense what you're saying, they learn everything else as well without much help from their parents.. I heard only the children, who have been found having grown up with animals in the jungle (think Mowgli), had not learned to talk, as they had not been exposed to any human interaction.
I can hear him practicing sounds and intonations etc. And he seems to use the language in a "correct" way. Like for instance the other day, when I carelessly left my mobile phone on the livingroom table and he then popped up in the bedroom with it where I was making the bed and I took the phone from him, he put up a fight and then walked away mumbling something in "his language" eyeing me from under his brow as he was going and I'm sure he was saying stuff like "this stupid woman always stopping me"
From what I know, children in multi-lingual homes can sometimes take a little longer to get going with their language, but once they do they will catch up fine with all of them. The important thing is that he is clearly exploring language and speech sounds, and wants to be communicative. He sounds like a real little character!
I read that you repeat back the word correctly but not in a way which implies they're wrong IYSWIM?
Something like this:
DS "oo iggy ogga baba sit?"
Me "yes DS, baby bear can sit there!"
So he knows you understand him and he knows how to say it properly. We did this with DS and his speech is excellent now - he was a slow starter.
A book called "Baby Talk" explained this and other techniques.
I found the book. 'Language The Basics' by R.L. Track.
It's a book about linguistics but has a lot of great information about how language acquired (and also lost!). Very readable style. It covers multi-lingual children, and also has a bit about neglect, and brain injury... It's a fascinating book - very much recommended.
Hey again and many thanks for all your replies and for the book recommendations, I will definately have a look!
Char11 there was a speech and language therapist in my local children's centre one time and I asked about the claim I had heard before that multilingual children would start later with their speech. She said they no longer believe this and that a child, who starts slower would do so regardeless of how many languages s/he has to learn. It does make sense, as she explained that children don't generally think of learning to talk as learning 1, 2, 3 or more different languages. To them it's just just learning to speak. When they get older, depending on how the language has been acquired, i.e if their parents confused them by mixing languages (e.g. one parent doesn't only speak one set language to the child) etc., they may have varying degrees of problems, but not generally at the early stages.
On the DS being a character-front, tell me about it! Up until now he has called both myself and DH 'Daddy', I guess to him we're like one unit IYSWIM (he calls himself Oh-Oh), but recently he has started calling any stranger, who might even remotely resemble DH 'Daddy', which has lead to some amusing situations when we're out and about ..
Sounds better than DD, who calls her daddy 'man'.
My DD (19 months) does this even though she has a vocabulary of around 20 clear words (ie that I/anyone can understand). She says no sentences that I can understand, it is all gibberish. When she was about 13/14 months nearly all of her sounds were this gibberish talk. I think very soon he will start saying lots of real words and you will be surprised!! They say girls talk earlier, not sure if that is true or not.
Oh and DD calls me 'dolly- as well as her own dollies - though she can and does say mama!!
When she was little, one of my sisters actually made up her own language that she spoke every so often. I think it's best to think of it as having a creative and imaginative mind. She did give it up herself and speaks very well now !!
My DD has made up some words too - RaRa for teddy and Bow Wow for dog. Though the bow wow thing is my Mums fault for singing her a silly song about a dog called bow wow. I think it shows a creative mind!!!!
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