Sunday, January 11, 2004

The annotated Helena vocabulary

(Listed in roughly chronological order of acquisition.)

Mama: That means me, although there are a lot of other things she calls "mama." Then there's the mamamamamamama mantra that spills out for no apparent reason.

Papa: That means J-F. It's starting to issue forth more regularly now. She's been saying "dada" for some time, but we attribute no meaning to it.

kookoo: "Peekaboo." Not vocalized, but clearly associated with playtime.

chat: French for "cat." We encouraged this term after watching her struggle with something vaguely resembling "kitty cat." It was obvious she needed a word by which to refer to this concept. Initially it sounded more like a whisper (sssshhhaa), but it has since taken on confidence.

no: Means "no." This is a word she does not yet vocalize but which she clearly comprehends. It generally elicits gut-wrenching cries of exasperated, wrongly wronged despair. Sigh.

bam: Means "boom." Something we say quite often when Helena falls back on her bottom, or when she drops objects from a great height and makes a loud noise, or when she accidently knocks things over. She uses "bam" in the same context.

bu-bye!: "Bye-bye." Usually accompanied by vigorous waving and trailing off into a series of high-pitched squeals.

ta-dah!: An occasional exclamation, usually upon getting into a standing position.

la: Means lait. French for "milk." A recent vocabularly acquisition (yesterday) and "learned" by means of pointing and repeated naming. Must use this method for more objects...

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