So many new words

T’s language seems to have grown quite a lot in the last week! Just in the past week, he’s started saying approximations of “eyes,” “nose,” “mouth,” “up,” “down,” “ball,” “bump,” and “go.” Of course, his version of these words is often not quite right – he’ll usually get the first consonant right and get close to right vowel after, and leaves off the final consonant. But, it’s clear to me what he’s trying to say (for example, if he’s stabbing me in the eye shouting “AYYYY!”). I made a page here documenting all of T’s words that I hope to update over time!

What’s interesting to me is that T’s “favorite” babbling consonant is definitely “d” – it’s predominantly what he uses when he’s just babbling to himself in the stroller (vocal play), or trying to say stuff to us that isn’t understandable as a clear word to us. But, despite “d” being T’s clear favorite consonant, he actually has more words that are “b” words.

I made a little graph of how the current set of T’s words are distributed in terms of predominant sound type – for example, whether the primary consonant is bilabial (formed with the lips pressed together – like for “b” or “m”), whether the primary consonant is alveolar (with the tongue pressed at the roof of the mouth – like for “d” or “n”), or whether the word (at least as T says it) is mostly vowels. Here’s the chart:

image (1).png

So, as of right now, a higher proportion of T’s words most prominently feature bilabial consonants, although that’s closely followed by alveolar consonants. I’m not sure if T has just been most interested in words that start with “b” (like “bubbles” or “ball”) or if these might be easier for him to learn, since bilabial consonants are very visually salient (it’s easy to see someone’s lips pressed together compared to where their tongue is inside their mouth), and that’s something that we visually emphasize when we say words we’re trying to teach him.

I’ll be interested to see how this pattern changes over time!


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