The brilliance of little kids and language

laughing baby

Somebody’s tickled by what she found under the tree! Image courtesy of Dee, Morguefile.

One of the funniest things in the world is to start a conversation with a toddler who hasn’t quite fully grasped the ins and outs of spoken language. It tends to cause humor while you’re in a long line at the checkout register.

Little kids are so wise, have you noticed? I once had an interesting conversation with a pint-size philosopher that went something like this:

TODDLER: Ya ya ob boo gau!

ME: Oh, really? I didn’t know that. Tell me more. (At this point, the parent and I exchange grins.)

TODDLER: Bah pa yay yay?

ME: Well, I guess you could put it that way. You’re very smart, did you know that?

TODDLER: Kas ka loosh!

ME: You’re welcome.

Interesting, isn’t it, how little kids pick up language bit by bit? They absorb it from so many sources: TV, Internet, radio, friends, family, babysitters, and even passersby.

There’s that amazing moment when you realize that the brain inside that tiny child not only comprehends what you say, but can formulate a response. Once when my nephews were little, I asked one of them, “What sound does a cow make?” and the other nephew said “MOO!” It surprised me so much because I thought nephew #2 was still too young to know what a cow was, let alone what sound it made.

This year, we welcomed a new little cousin, L., to my clan (technically, the little one is my fourth cousin). She’s still too young to be talking yet, but I look forward to hearing what she thinks of the world. It’s going to be fun. Here’s looking at you, kiddo.

Happy holidays, blog readers!

Children's Christmas village display

Hoping everybody has a great Christmas & New Year’s! Photo credit: Blogger’s own.



Filed under Writing

8 responses to “The brilliance of little kids and language

  1. My son’s first clear, unmissable word was “Shit!” He barked his shins on the coffee table and said it with firmness, authority, and obvious understanding of its contextual meaning. My mother happened to be there. This became of the the family stories that never stopped causing hilarity at gatherings 😀

  2. Toddlers are the best age ( although very tiring). They are so fascinated by everything – and exploring how it all goes together. Real strangers in a strange land, so to speak.
    Hope your Christmas is merry and bright ( You can rest later )

  3. I have some funny stories about exchanges with my son, but all when he was young and quite verbal. Enjoy the holidays with such a young one. They help you relive the magic!

  4. bobmielke

    It’s been a long time since I’ve checked out your blog. My bad! I try to limit my list of favorites to a dozen and you’ve certainly earned my respect for being one of my oldest, most faithful followers. Now I am following your escapades and have you woven into my daily routine. Have a great New Year my talented friend. – Bob


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