‘What’s that?’, and other ways to learn about the world

Straight up, apologies that I have been so slack with this blog. Life has been keeping me at a steady clip, but that doesn’t mean there have been fewer observations to record about Bitti’s language use and development—she has been talking more and more, and acquires new words at an incredible pace—just that I have not had time to sit and write my observations down.

I have long given up keeping track of the individual words that Bitti uses; I would be writing in a notebook all day if I did that. She has no problem with her memory, that’s for sure. I use a word once and she’s added it to her dictionary. In fact, she’s far better than my phone’s auto-correct at remembering new words (what exactly is your problem with swear words, Apple?). In addition to hearing incidental words, Bitti now asks about unfamiliar objects and people too, so she can add them to her growing internal database of the world. Should I tell her to relax, Google has us covered?

Whether object or person she asks ‘What’s that?’. A favourite game is stopping on the way out of the childcare centre so she can point at each of the fifty-odd named photos of the children who attend and ask, ‘what’s that?’, for each one. I have corrected her to ‘who’ every time she asks about a person but she shows no sign of updating her grammar yet.


Alongside her more careful inspection of the world for new objects she can ask about, she has twigged about letters and words. We were reading Mr McGee and the Biting Flea when she saw on the last page the picture of the dog saying ‘Ooooooooo’, and said ‘look, bubbles’. I explained they were the letters that made the words I was saying, and then she started pointing at other words in the rest of the book and asking what they were until I got tired of the game. She still says the dog is blowing bubbles, but now realises that when there are those funny shapes in a row I can interpret them into words. Magic! Reading is kind of magical, really.



One comment

  1. Pingback: Catching up on Bitti | Baby linguist

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