JD’s Language Development (Part II)

Diary of a SAHM – Day 564

JD’s Language Development (Part I)

Joshayne started verbalizing words when he was around one year old. At that stage, his spoken vocabulary was made up of mostly NOUNS, i.e. names of people, animals and things, in his immediate context. We consciously pointed things out to him and kept telling him what they were.
Later on, he picked up VERBS, i.e. action words. Exaggerated actions and repetition worked wonders here. Next, we introduced ADJECTIVES. For example, instead of just saying “car” or “cat”, we encouraged him to describe the object by saying “red car” and “black cat”, etc. We also taught him opposites such as big vs small, hot vs cold, and so on.

We’ve discovered that the most effective way to teach Joshayne is to engage all his senses – let him touch, feel, taste and interact with the objects instead of just telling him (*safety must come first, of course!). For example, we let Joshayne play with an ice cube while repeatedly telling him what it was and that it was ‘cold’.  Another important point is to be enthusiastic, i.e. be the drama king/queen. Seeing a cat might not excite you, but it can well be the highlight of the day for your little one who is seeing a cat or touching it for the FIRST time in his life! Get what I mean?

As his vocabulary grew, Joshayne began to join words together to form phrases/clauses. He started to consistently use ADJECTIVES before NOUNS (e.g. big bus, sharp teeth, white truck). He also began to describe actions using a VERB-NOUN construction, such as kick ball, read book, fry egg etc.

Joshayne can already understand the idea of possession. There are certain drawers (for example, those in the kitchen) that he is not allowed to open because they are “mah-nee’s drawers” (yup, he still calls me “money”!). He knows how to add /s/ or /z/ sound to his name/Mummy/Daddy to show possession. For example, he says “Daddy’s motorbike,” “mah-nee’s car,” “Joshayne’s digger” and so on. He can also use possessive PRONOUNS such as “my” (as in “my Daddy” and “my book”) and “your” (as in “your phone”). Sometimes, he still gets mixed up though.

Recently, Joshayne started using the CONJUNCTION “and.” He used it to link words together, such as “Daddy and Joshayne” and “red and blue and yellow.” I guess that’s the easiest conjunction to pick up.  Joshayne has also been using SEQUENCE CONNECTORS such as “first” and “and then.” I suppose he learnt those from us because we would normally say things like “Joshayne, finish your milk first, and then we can go out…”

The last few months, I let Joshayne watch videos on my phone and also showed him pictures that we had taken together. Initially, I thought it was a “harmless” activity since we only did this occasionally and I consciously monitor and limit his screen-time.  However, alarm bells started ringing in my head when he showed signs of addiction. Oh-uh. So for the time being, I try not to use my phone when he is around. Sometimes, he will ask for my phone – “Where’s mah-nee’s phone?” And I’ll respond by getting him to look for it together with me. “Joshayne, where is mummy’s phone? Is it UNDER the pillow? Is it ON the table? Is it IN the drawer?” And we’ll walk around the house, looking under the pillows or cushions, opening and closing drawers etc. Sometimes, we play hide-and-seek. Sometimes, we hide his toys and then prompt him to look for them. “Joshayne, where is your red car? Is it in the toy box?” We all enjoyed the games and had lots of fun, and Joshayne learnt to use  PREPOSITIONS of place. To date, he already knows basic ones such as “under”, “in”, “on”, “behind”, “through” and “next to”.

Joshayne is very good at giving directions too. He has a walker and another pink trolley bag/suitcase that he pushes around the house while saying…. “move forward”, “turn left/right”, “u-turn”, “reverse”, “go through the tunnel”, and so on. He does that when he plays with his toy vehicles as well.

In recent weeks, Joshayne has improved tremendously in terms of understanding simple questions  and responding to them appropriately. Some of the question words that he is familiar with are WHERE, WHO, and WHAT. Here are some sample questions that we posed and his responses…

M: Where is Daddy?
JD: Daddy’s working./ Daddy’s upstairs. / Daddy’s in the bathroom.

M: What is this? Is this a ?
Yes. / No. It’s a .

M: Can the helicopter fly?
M: Can birds fly?
JD: Can!
M: Can the digger fly?
JD: Cannot.

M: What happened?
JD: Barney fell down, like Humpty.

@ the traffic lights
M: Ops. Red light now. What should I do?
JD: Stop.
M: Can I go now? (still red light)
JD: No.
M: It’s green now. Can I go?
JD: Can~

Looking at aeroplane pictures
M: Where is the pilot?
JD: In the cockpit.
M: What about Joshayne, Mummy and Daddy?
JD: In the cabin.

M: It’s so hot. What should I do?
JD: Turn on the fan / air-cond.

M: It’s dark. What should I do?
JD: Turn on the light.

M: Oh-uh. Joshayne spilt water on the table. What should you do?
JD: Wipe wipe wipe.
(*coach him to get the dish towel from the kitchen)

Lately, he has begun to ASK questions too. On several occasions, I have also observed him narrating while playing with his toys. I love to show him pictures and tell him stories because he seems better able to understand now and he can respond to simple questions about the story. When we look at the pictures again (the next day or a few days later), he is able to recall and tell the gist of the story (just a few words or phrases) when prompted with questions.

His vocabulary is growing at a steady rate. By now, he can repeat almost all new words that we teach him (be it in English, Mandarin, Hokkien or even Malay). Thus, it’s almost impossible for me to record every new word that he utters. I still try my best to note down but I’ve long given up trying to keep a complete list of his spoken vocab.  Anyway, here’s a list of words/phrases/clauses that Joshayne says from time to time that we find especially cute, endearing and memorable.

Eng eng liaw, mai kong liaw.
U for UTC.
Merdeka! Merdeka!
Thank you God for this new day.
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Ai du uh.
按摩 (massage) leg/toes.
Happy Birthday.
祝你快乐。(wish you happiness)
…is coming!
Excuse me.
Repair 好了。(repaired already)
Like Humpty.
Joshayne 弄的。Mummy 弄的。(….. did it.)
Burst your bubbles.

It has been an amazing journey so far. Let me just end this post with my favourite two words from my li’l tot:

“LOVE Mah-Neeeeee…”


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