>mom-mode #123 – on first utterances
February 4, 2011 § 4 Comments
>Three little words. My 11-month-old can speak three little words.
Of course ‘da-da’ came a long time ago. But only recently has he put meaning into it. Every time we go buy daddy’s office, I hear ‘dada’. We hear the lock on our door, ‘dada’. He just loves his ‘dada’.
‘Mama’ came a couple of months ago as a sort of hybrid between mommy and mamae (in portuguese). He cries out ‘mama’ when he wants to be held, ‘mama’ when he wants something from me and sometimes I think he says ‘mama’ when he wants food.:)
The third isn’t really a word, but an interjection. But since he uses it at specific times, in the right context, I can’t help but count this as his third word:’ Uh-oh’, there goes the sippy cup on the floor. ‘Uh-oh’, there goes all the blocks mommy had put into a tower. ‘Uh-oh’, there goes my paci… And so on and so forth.
I have to say that I write these words in relief and in anxious anticipation. I have met many a bilingual who learned two languages as natural as it gets. So I wasn’t at all concerned until recently, when I met a bilingual family whose 2 year-old only had about ten words in his vocabulary. I began to fervently study about multilingualism. Because in our case, we are dealing with three languages instead of the usual two. That’s when I realized that even though multilingualism will come naturally, we must be intentional with how we go about it.
Currently we are following the ‘OPOL’ method (One Person, One Language). I speak Portuguese to O and the husband speaks English. He hears English from his American family and Portuguese from his Brazilian family. But there’s also an element of Ml@h (Minority language @ home), given that once we cross the threshold of our home, he only hears Turkish. Needless to say this all could be very tricky if we are not carefully intentional about it all.
From all the testimonies I’ve read, if we work hard at it, we will reap many, many benefits. The onset of language might come later than a monolingual child, but when it comes, it will come twice as more.:)
I can’t wait to hear all the new little words he is going to learn! It is such a relief to be able to actually understand what my child is babbling about!