Monday, August 20, 2012

James's Vocabulary at 16 Months 2012

James is 16 months old today! In lieu of a full update on James's personal growth and development this month, let's stick to the one thing that has been changing. James is starting to say words on his own more and not just repeating sounds we make. He understands a lot of stuff we say to him. Sometimes he even responds to stuff Kevin and I are saying to each other and not to him. As far as actually speaking though, we expect his language will be delayed and confused for a while because I'm teaching him Spanish as well as English.

One complication is that little kids don't pronounce things correctly when they're learning to speak, but their parents can usually guess at the words based on context, and reward the language by giving them what they request.  It makes it harder to guess what he's saying when it might be a mispronounced English word, Spanish word, or nonsense noise.

Spanish Books 2011
Collage of James's Spanish books

Another unusual thing is that I did a little reading on raising bilingual children. It was my understanding that, at first, James would learn one word for each item without regard for language, but that he would only learn the one word. Well, this is not turning out to be the case. Like many little boys, James is obsessed with light fixtures, and he says both light and "luz," the word for light in Spanish. I'm not sure what to expect going forward. I exclusively spoke Spanish for 4 years before I started learning English so my experience was different than James's will be.

Here's his current list of words/ word-like-babble in order of frequency:
  1. "ight" = light
  2. "loosh" = luz (Spanish for light)
  3. "go go"= Diego (sometimes he actually says Diego, but rarely)
  4. Boos Coos = Blues Clues
  5. "ow" = used to convey painless injuries (he actually cries when he's hurt)
  6. Mama
  7. Dada
  8. agua/aba = Spanish for water
  9. tete = Spanish for pacifier, but I suspect he might also be referring to "leche" or milk 
  10. "ba pa"  = back pack (from Diego)
  11. Click = the camera on Dora and Diego
  12. arbol = Spanish for tree
As you can see, "Mama" and "Dada" don't rate very high on his list of importance.

James at 15 Months 2012
James and "Mama" at home

Tiny town.
"Dada" and James at the park

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