What does it mean?

Any Spanish used in blog posts is hyperlinked to its English translation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dorking out about language acquisition

My boss pointed out that Guajolotita #1 generalized a rule when I recounted to her the evolution of "avion" I talked about in this post. However, today she expanded it to include a new word:

For weeks she had "avión" firmly in control. For weeks or even months before that, she used "ca" for "camión" (and "carro" and any other "ca" word). But, once she could finally say "camión", in the next day or so "avión" became "amión". That's about two weeks ago now.

She's said "arena" for a few weeks now as well. I don't think she says any "r"s at this point, so she says it: "aena". Today, I made steel cut oats for breakfast for the first time in a few months. She asked for "huevos" and I told her we were having "avena" (con pasas). After a few go rounds, she tried it herself - and it came out "amena" and stayed that way for today at least.

On a different track, the Guajolotita #1 initially did say "huevo" correctly. But she changed at some point to "huevi" and stayed that way for a month or two. Now, she says "huevos" and "huevo" but the singular has this funny non-native pronunciation: "wayy-voe".

Both of these changes happened around when she turned 17 months.


Her English phrases aren't nearly as many as her Spanish ones. And she doesn't have many translation pairs:
  • "up" and "arriba" (and she uses "up" for "pick me up" - "arriba" (a-iba) only refers to the upstairs neighbors or perhaps the location of an avion)
  • "outside" and "afuera" (afuela, she doesn't say any "r"s so far). These are used with the same meaning. I think she only says "outside" if she's heard someone use it (if she's been cued to that word in English). I suspect she never uses it with her Abuela, for instance. But if I holler at THCSITU "I'm goin outside to..." she'll start pointing and dancing, "Outside! Outside!"

But the English ones are key. Besides the ones she adopted early on as chronicled in this post, she also uses:
  • "want that" (this is not clearly pronounced AT ALL, but it's consistent and a phrase constantly used by her cousin, her main source of English)
    • hilariously, she used to say "ten" for "give me that", and then changed to "pa' ti" (short for "para ti") because those were the phrases we used when giving her something. So she'd be pointing and shrieking, "Pa' ti! Pa' ti!" when she wanted you to hand her something.
  • "sit"
  • "that one" also combined with "want that" to form "want that one" As you can guess, this is usually in a very insistent tone or a whine. 3 yr old cousin is a heckuva whiner.