Comparative Linguistics

17 02 2016

Tabitha copies a great many of the things Evanny does, as many as her tiny body can manage to keep up with, but thanks to the gap in their ages, Tab was too small to differentiate between sounds while Ev still used baby-sounds to make her thoughts known, so the little one’s words are her own.  It doesn’t surprise me, exactly; the reasons are clear enough, and we’re logical beings. Sometimes they end up sounding the same, Evanny’s baba and Tabitha’s, for “baby,” but sometimes they’re totally different, like Tabitha’s “bruh-bruh” where Ev would say “Dude”; the most noteworthy and confusing are the places where they misalign, so where Evanny used to demand “bah” at bedtime, Tabitha clearly asks for “boob,” but also says “bah”–it just means “sheep,” not “breastmilk.”  The doubled form for Ev was often just emphasis, but when Tab says “bahbah,” she’s asking for a blanket (a now necessary accompanyment for nursing, but not the same thing). Tabitha has figured out that syllables exist, but she doesn’t really hear the details yet, so she tends to go with first sounds alone. There are exceptions–“Aagn” for Evanny is different now from the “aagleph” that is elephant–but it’s a pretty clear general pattern.  “Da” is duck; “dada” is Daddy, dinosaur, and Darcy.  “Ma” is mine; “mama” is Mummy, monkey, and Miles (which looks like one syllable on paper, but I have yet to meet anyone who actually pronounces it as anything other than “Mai-yuls”).  And of course she has words for her favourite things, words most often wholly her own. Evanny was just as much a fan of bananas and “choch-choch” as any kid could be, and there’s really only one way all toddlers say “banana,” but there’s a different sparkle in the “Tyahdah!” of triumphant enthusiasm when I offer Tab a chocolate chip. And of course, she says this: 

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