The Amazing Development of Language

Robert is amazing me with his rapidly developing verbal skills. The development is very quick even on the pronunciation side.

A few days ago he pronounced bucket correctly; where he had been calling it bakkie so far (and this is incidentally Afrikaans for bucket). Maybe he is starting to grasp the idea of a final consonant, because he now also calls himself Ah-pet.

The books say that NO is one of the first words a child learns, Robert hasn’t done so yet, but I think he started today. When I asked him whether he wanted his milk he answered : Naaah, I thought the tone of his response indicated that my suggestion was ludicrous.

Robert knows most his body parts. He would point to all of them and say quite a few like : eye, head, neck and recently cheek. In the case of “neck” the actual reference is somewhat confused, because he links it to my necklace and not the actual body part.  Occasionally I still try to call the body parts by their German names, always wondering whether this will confuse him. I sometimes sing to him the very few German lullabys that I know.  While I was putting him to sleep today, he engaged in one of his annoying habits of poking me in the eye while proudly proclaiming “eye”. By coincidence or maybe by association I started singing a German lullaby my mom often sang  to us:

Müde bin ich, geh’ zur Ruh’,
Schließe meine Äuglein zu;
Vater, laß die Augen dein
Über meinem Bette sein!

Translation :

I am tired, now I rest,
I close my small eyes;
Father, let your eyes
Be over my bed!

My singing did not stop the annoying eye-poking from Robert, but in keeping with the verse he was now calling it “Auge”.

Postscript : Turns out that the song I was singing to Robert is actually a German poem by Luise Hensel (1798-1876), who was a religious author and poet.

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