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mean length of utterance

It has been suggested that Harvey might be destined for a career as a sports broadcaster. He talks a lot, and more, he offers a constant running commentary on what he's doing. It's mostly in fairly short fragments, but the last few months he's been coming out out with some longer phrases; and we as competitive, data-driven parents are naturally counting how many words he can string together. Currently our data set for the language skills of almost-two-year-olds is basically him, but considering that the questionnaire for his two-year checkup asked if he was making two-word sentences yet we figure he may be a little ahead of the curve.

The new record comes from his comments about Richard Scarry's Great Big Schoolhouse, a terrible book to read aloud but a great one for him to look through himself, now that he's into that sort of thing. Mostly he just points to the characters and exclaims excitedly that "that cat from Ollie's puer, that bunny from Ollie's puer, that pig that pig from Ollie's puer" (puer being, naturally, computer; he occasionally watches the Richard Scarry tv show at his friend Ollie's house) but he's also branched out into describing the scenes being depicted. "That's a doggie givin ice cream to a cat," he told me this evening, for a total of either nine or ten morphemes (depending on whether ice cream counts as a compound word for him or not; I'm definitely counting the correctly deployed contraction as two!).

That tops the previous record-holder, "sit in mama bunny's lap read books", which is of course a description of the penultimate color spread in his perennial favorite, Runaway Bunny. You see that literature is often a topic of discussion in the squibix household, but not exclusively; there was another good one about Rascal scaring the ducks that I can't recall exactly, but I'm sure Leah will add it in the comments if I ask nicely.

Of course, I don't want to suggest that long sentences like this are the norm; or at least, that his long sentences aren't nearly all just breathless run-ons. Like how he described this afternoon's fun activities: "James jump in the pool, and Harvey in the pool, and Grandma on the chair and watch, and watch and watch and watch...". Running commentary, basically, or a review of recent events. So look for him in the broadcast booth in, what, 20 year or so.


"No Wagoo inna water scare the ducks!"

Six word sentences are fairly common, though. "Harvey goa farm feed the goats" is one that comes to mind, as well as "watch a fin-n-ferb on mama's puer?"

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