Almost Talking

July 25, 2008

With their collection of two- and three-word phrases now adding up to about ten, the twins, at a month shy of two, are just about starting to talk. Here’s what they are saying:

pick it up – the first and still the favourite phrase, they love to throw stuff down just so they can say this, sometimes to us, sometimes to each other and, when all else fails, to themselves. They even say this before actually throwing stuff, by way of announcing their intentions.

how are you – fast replacing the above as Tara’s favourite. She sometimes answers herself with “Thank-u thank-u”

lie down – usually to indicate that they want you to sit back, but sometimes also to indicate that they want to lie down

get down – usually indicates that they want to get down when you are holding them

bed time – at bed time, most obligingly

pani time – also khana time and bukku time, to indicate that it’s time for water, food, or their story book

baby crying – used even for those who aren’t

bless you – usually to themselves, when they sneeze

this side – as in “pass some of that food over here please, and stop feeding the other girl”

Mrini also has taken words out of a few eternal nursery lines: little lamb, husha-busha, and johnny, johnny yapapa, which often becomes johnny yapapa and sometimes even johnny yapapapapapapa

The latest addition to this list shows how adept they are at picking up words from our conversation: new car

New car???

That’s the subject of wholly another post.

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Tara’s First Few Words

January 27, 2008
Suddenly, Tara has acquired a huge vocabulary in the past few days. Earlier, her vocabulary consisted of baba, mama, and aunnnnnnn (for auntie – courtesy the cook), and I’m not sure she knew the meanings of these. Everything else was ma or ka, or variations on these themes such as, amma, akka, mama, or kaka.
Later, she abandoned these words in favour of complete gibberish. Now, there seems to be a recognisable language emerging from the gibberish. Not, admittedly, a very easily recognisable language, but now her words are often accompanied by actions indicating what she means and also, more importantly, that she knows what she means.Here’s a list of what I’ve managed to recognise so far – words that she’s repeated often enough to rule out coincidence.
  • aaa-kkaaay (okay – shaking head from side to side)
  • Bye-bye, ta-ta (waving hand, often when someone is leaving, but
    sometimes also at bedtime or when she is going into her room)
  • no-no (nose – grabbing hers or sometimes mine, Amit’s or Mrini’s)
  • ouuuu (out – talking back when I order her out of some place)
  • owwww (ouch – imitating me when she grabs my nose)
  • ba (ball – pointint to it)
  • buku (her picture book – pointing at or fetching it)
  • mata (mat (for sleeping on) – at bedtime, fetching it to spread on the bed)
  • ae-o-pa (aeroplane – pointing upwards when she hears one passing; Mrini used to call it “ae-ppy” but now no longer does.)
  • hapu (high five – holding both hands up by her head waiting for the high five, big grin on her face)
  • emmmm (arm – patting her arm)
  • backa (back – bending her arm around and touching her back!)
  • tamtam (tummy – patting it and grinning)
  • dudu (dudh, milk – when she sees me pouring it out into their bottles)
  • da-i (dahi, curd – when served to her at lunch time)
  • mumm-mumm-mumm (yum-yum-yum – while eating curd)
  • yea (yes- decisively, in response to the question “Are you hungry?” at
    lunchtime )

Impressive, don’t you think? Considering she’s been exposed to English (and Hindi) for only the past four months.

Mrini isn’t saying much these days – at least, not anything that’s recognisable that is. I suppose she’ll unleash another flood of garbled words on us at some point. For now, she seems pretty happy to let Tara do the talking.


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