Thursday, September 11, 2008

Categorical Vocabulary

JD has had a 'word explosion' over the last couple of months. Where he had no usable vocabulary as recent as June, he now has a large variety of words. Whether and when he chooses to use them is another story, but first things first.

One thing I'd noticed was that there were a few words he used for like things but the wrong thing. For instance, he'd say "car" when he saw or played with a train. He says "apple" when I give him a nectarine. All animals are "doggie."

A fellow parent heard him do this at the playground. She told me that, in a linguistics class in college, she'd learned that often children developing speech will categorize items. For JD, all fruit is "apple", as he doesn't have "fruit" in his vocabulary. The same applies to the other items.

He also calls lights, light switches, and airplanes "light." I can't think of others he uses, but I think there are a couple others.

In short, I'm just happy that he's identifying objects with words. Whether or not he pronounces things correctly (saying "lalo" or "walo" for water) is of no concern at this point. Finding out what he's thinking has made the three of us much happier.

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