Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Learning Language

It’s funny how very young children pick up words and expressions - from the people they have around them, as well as from videos they watch.

My younger granddaughter (just turned two last month) was insisting on getting something from me. An iPad, I think. Her demands were accompanied by appropriate authoritative facial expression and body posture - stumping her tiny foot on the floor like a little empress, and with a stern voice, demanding, “I want my iPad!!!” Her mother reminded her to say “Please” and in a split second, and in complete reversal, she not only said “please,” but also softened her tone and volume to what her mother calls “butterfly voice.” She looked at me with a pleading expression on her face, and asked in a very gentle, slow and hard-to-refuse voice,  “L-o-l-a, may I p-l-e-a-s-e have my iPad?  P-l-e-a-s-e, L-o-l-a?”  

On another occasion, she was trying to use expressions that she had picked up from her and her sister’s favorite movie, Frozen.

“Go away!” she told me, in the same tone and manner that the movie’s Princess Elsa did, when she tried to keep her sister, Princess Anna, away.  I thought she was cute, and just laughed but didn’t go away.

“Hmmm,” she must have thought, “that didn’t work.”

She tried “Get out!” I was not sure if that was in the movie, but I was impressed that she was trying other ways of giving the same message, so I laughed again but I still didn’t go away.

“Go…” and she groped for other words. I waited. “Go…” Oops, it looks like she has run out of words with the same meaning. “Go…,” she paused, and then, triumphantly, she commanded…

“Go home!”

She and I both knew that she was scraping the bottom for the right words, and straying from the original movie dialogue. We looked at each other, and we both laughed.

Super cute two-year old! Did I mention that she’s my granddaughter?

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