2014: A year in language acquisition delights

I know I just blogged a couple of days ago, but I’ve always enjoyed year-in-review posts. And because most of my Facebook posts, tweets, and now blog posts seem to be about my daughter’s language development, this time my year-in-review is centred on just that!

Our daughter came home to us in late March at 19 months of age, so there are no entries for January or February. But for the other months, I’ve gone over her journal and chosen my favourite notes on her language development for that month. Good-bye 2014! I’m so excited to see what 2015 is going to bring our family, linguistically.

3 April 2014

3 April 2014


At 19 months old, most of her utterances in spontaneous production (i.e., not immediately repeating a adult) are the length of one word or one fixed multi-word construction. But she has a lot of them! By the end of the month I’d recorded 180, plus or minus 40 (because I couldn’t always tell if they were truly spontaneous or not). My favourites are the multi-word ones, like good kick [ʊʔɪk], where go? [wɛgo], and be (right) back [bibæk] or [bibæχ].


While phrases like where go? and be back! seem more lexical than syntactic, this month gave us our first proper sentence: ‘Daddy dancing!’ Yes, it was adorable.


This month she got the plural -s morpheme! One day, there were two cameras lying on the sofa. She saw one and said, ‘Camera!’ and then saw another one and said ‘Two cameras!’ (She used two for any kind of plurality, so the number itself was a coincidence, but a cool one.)

This is also the month when I started documenting the switch from her West Scotland accent to an American one.


She now uses the word too productively. We were looking at a photo album and she said, ‘Daddy!’ and then turned the page and pointed and said, ‘Daddy too!’

This month she also started repeating sentences with more than three words; ‘Daddy has to make it first.’ was repeated as ‘Daddy make it first.’


This month our kiddo used the for the first time! We were coming into the building from outside and she said, ‘close the door’ with a clear voiced fricative onset to the schwa.

She also spent the month actively building on adjectives and syntax (e.g., ‘Tiny beach ball hit purple balloon!’).

17 August 2014

17 August 2014


This month saw her first fully adult-like utterance: ‘Look Daddy, a duck!’ She said it twice! And then that same day I said ‘that eye?’ and she said ‘this eye.’ We also started hearing her use I more this month, though she still prefers using her name instead.


It’s the seasons of sentences. Her favourite frame of the moment is ‘I want X.’ such as in, ‘I want [to] swing again.’


Two big language achievements that we noticed this month. First, she used a proportion, saying ‘half a banana’ and then breaking the banana in half to share with Daddy. Second, she learned her first phrase in Akan-Twi: Ma brɛ. It means ‘I’m tired.’ She knows what it means but doesn’t say it spontaneously.

One of my personal favourite sentences this month was, ‘I have a orange tiger suit motorcycle!’ No, I don’t know what it means, either.


The season of sentences continues with more complexity and creativity. Some amusing examples include, ‘Bye-bye, I’m going to the post box.’ and ‘I have little hands.’ My favourite this month was, ‘I’m wearing a scary.’ <makes a scary face> ‘Like a mask!’


This month she starting using quotatives. Examples: ‘I say, Don’t grab, Siardus!‘ and ‘I say, No Siardus, stop.’ (Siardus is a friend’s baby, and she was recounting a play date earlier that day.)

She’s also gradually transitioning from not to don’t, occasionally saying sentences as complex as, ‘I don’t want to wash my hair’, but also sometimes eliding either word and relying only on prosody and facial expression to convey the negative valence.

Lastly, I elicited some US/UK code-mixing the other day: ‘…pockets full of posy, ashes, a tissue, we all fall down!’

17 December 2014

17 December 2014

I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up with her development in 2015, but I will certainly try! Happy New Year, everyone! Afehyia paaa!


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One Response to 2014: A year in language acquisition delights

  1. I’ve just scanned through a few of the posts here and I like the way you have a calm and relaxed tone of voice, great given the topic / nature of the blog you write. The quotes of your daughter are pretty cute too 😉

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