Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Talkin’ the Talk

The Squeaker may need a new name soon.

She has gone from making short, weak squeaks to long, loud attempts at talking.

But when do kids really start talking?

I have some experience at watching children develop language skills; my nephew, Gunslinger, was an early talker. In fact, I think he gave his first full oratory at eight months on the pros and cons of bananas as a finger food.

With Gunslinger, once he started talking he didn’t stop. His third birthday is coming up and I don’t think he has stopping talking in over two years. So I hesitate to use him as a guidepost.

I’ve done some high level internet research on the subject (i.e., read the three sentence blurb in the Google search results for 20+ websites on child development) and according to experts, it can be anywhere from 9-15 months on average. Late talkers can be as long as 18-24 months.

The Squeaker will probably fit somewhere comfortably within the average.

Based on Gunslinger, we're enjoying the nonsensical blathering that Squeak puts out and hope that she speaks it for a long time. In fact, it sounds like she’s talking in another language.

Her native tongue is a language that is apparently based on the letter “a” and the “ahh” sound. While her language is short on vowels and consonants, it is rich with tonal variation, inflection, and emphasis.

Sometimes she talks to her toy(s) for an entire car ride.

The conversation goes something like this – “Aaaaa. Ahh! Aaaah a a ahhhhhhh. Ah ah ahhhhh aaaaah? Aaaaaaaaa! Ah.” And it goes on and on and on.

Whatever it is she’s saying, she’s very vocal about it.

It also occurs to me that she may be making fun of me… well, probably all adults. I can hear you now, “How can a six month old be making fun of you?

You’ve never seen anyone make fun of a foreign language? Sasha Baron Cohen has made a career out of it.

Have you ever seen the Saturday Night Live skit with John Belushi as the Samurai Warrior in mundane jobs (a cook, a bellhop, a secretary, etc.)?

John Belushi does an impression of the Japanese language with long vowels and heavy “H”s. While the impression is less than politically correct, millions of tv viewers laughed heartily.

Maybe millions of infants are laughing at us.

It’s a sure sign if they babble at you and then laugh hysterically.