One magic word

Yesterday, my son (1,5) said ‘sì’ for the first time. Finally! It’s probably no surprise he already said ‘no‘ and ‘nee‘ for a while. We also managed to get him to say ‘ja’ with a lot of applause. So, now we’re complete.

Still, he has a huge preference for any variation of the word ‘no’. Even if he actually means ‘yes’.

Guess what: he’s now in his ‘one-word-phase’. One of the characteristics of this phase is that children do now how to say ‘no’ very well, but they just won’t say ‘yes’. So nothing strange about my son saying ‘no’ to my question whether he’d like some milk, while grabbing the bottle out of my hands…

All in one word

Of course each child is different, but from about 11 months, children start to say their first words. Generally, these words belong to two categories: names of objects and words we use in social interaction.

My son was highly efficient when he first started talking:

  • people: mamma (‘mommy’ in both Dutch and Italian)
  • animals: gatto (‘cat’ in Italian)
  • voertuigen: auto (‘car’ in both Dutch and Italian)

He would throw in a casual ‘hallo’ (‘hello’ in Dutch) of ‘ka’ (‘I’m done’ in Dutch)

Step by step, children are able to distinguish more categories and add more words to their vocabulary. Fortunately, he now only refers to me with ‘mamma’ (my husband is especially pleased about this) and he’s learned loads of new words.

About the age of 18 months, the ‘two-word-phase’ starts. Apparently, bilingual children could start to code-switch already. I bet it’s going to be something like ‘mamma auto’.

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