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animal sounds

Zion is talking up a storm now, especially about animals. Unlike Harvey, he refers to many of them by their sounds—we didn't reinforce that sort of thing with our first child because who needs that sort of cutesy baby-talk, but it turns out that cutesy baby-talk is absolutely delightful to three-year-olds, so Harvey provides all the reinforcement necessary. Thus "cluck-cluck", "moo", and "baa" have all been pressed into use as names by both our children. The latest sound-name to emerge took me some time to figure out: "boo". Only in context of an African animals documentary did "moe boo! wot boo!" finally make sense. Also it helped when he illustrated the word with a very evocative trunk motion with his arm.

So quick does childhood language development proceed, however, that those sorts of names are already starting to be replaced. He says "eh-fant" too, especially when he's talking about a toy one; and "baa" has been abandoned in favor of "doat" and "reet" (how he came up with those consonants for "sheep" I have no idea). Dogs, for their part, were always "doddy", cats "tat", and pigs something I can only render as "pubby", if you imaging that collection of letters being spoken in a low tone by a toddler with a mouth full of marbles. And of course, his favorite animal of all—in a ballet context, at least—is "mysh", with the almost-s sound drawn out as long as possible for emphasis. His language really is delightful; it's too bad that, as the second child, he's very rarely captured on video.


In case you can't tell "boo" means "elephant"—but of course you knew that. I should also note that he doesn't really get the consonant cluster in "cluck-cluck" but he does totally hit the /k/... I don't know why it's missing in "cat".

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