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Lijah language at two-and-a-half

Lijah is growing up—moving from toddler stage to pre-schooler in the ever finer gradations of American marketing—and he's starting to lose some of his cutest mispronunciations. He can say Ls now, for example, when he remembers; so no more "yibary" (or "Yaya" to refer to himself). I wish we were videoing him all the time.

But he does say a lot of words—talks all the time he can get a word in edgewise in our talky home—so there are still lots of language features of note. One interesting development is how he's started changing the "ah" sound at the end of polysyllabic words to more of an "aow". We hear it most in "Mamaow" and "bananaow" (hundreds of times a day each) but it also occurs in less frequently spoken words like "Dadaow".

Why does he do it? I have no idea. Generally, he tends to get less intelligible when he speaks with greater emphasis (no Lijah, talking without closing your mouth does not actually make you more persuasive), and it may be his latest quirk comes from something like that. He also seems to be pretty interested in the sound of words generally, and in the sound of his own voice, so maybe he just likes the effect.

Something else that's been amusing us lately as the weather turns is how he talks about being cold. Until recently he pronounced /k/ as /t/, like the baby polar bear in the joke ("my tail is told"), so when he copied Zion's exaggerated fake-shivering it came out as, "I'm t-t-t-told!". He's got the /k/ now, but I guess he internalized the beginning of that stock saying as /t/ so recently we've heard, several times, "I'm t-t-t-cold!". Although I laughed in delight the first time and told Leah about it, in Lijah's hearing, so it could be he's doing it on purpose now for effect. And I don't have any idea how aware he is when he adds even more emphasis: "I'm t-t-t-freezing!"

Probably pretty aware. Look out for more jokes coming soon.

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