Into the 2-word stage

When I last reported on my youngest granddaughter’s progress in learning language, she was still clearly at the 1-word stage (at 20 months). She was still there a couple of months later, though maybe just starting to produce 2-word phrases or statements. https://languagemiscellany.com/2022/04/early-words

She recently had her 2nd birthday and is now very definitely in the 2-word stage. Many of the things she says are 2-word phrases (adjective plus noun) or statements (noun + verb).

Here are comments on some other aspects of what she is now saying:

  • articles
  • pronouns
  • possessives
  • numbers
  • vocabulary and pronunciation

Articles

I haven’t yet heard her using definitive articles (the) or indefinite articles (a / an). But she does use one, seemingly more as an article or other determiner, rather than as a numeral. For example, she often says things like blue one car.

When she uses this construction, I have a feeling she is not specifying whether one is definite (like the) or indefinite (like a), but I haven’t tried to test this.

Pronouns

She isn’t using pronouns much yet, except in 3 particular cases:

  • She often says me—emphatically—if you ask who is doing something.
  • She often says mine—even more emphatically—to claim something as hers.
  • She quite often says up me, if she wants someone to pick her up. Here, she seems to be using up as if it were a verb. I don’t think I have yet heard her using me as the object of any other verbs.

Young children often go through a stage of using me as the subject of a verb where older children and adults use I. But I’ve not yet heard her use I or me (or indeed any other pronoun) as the subject of any verb.

She does, though, already use nouns as the subject. One example I heard was Daddy work, when she knew her father was working.

Possessives

I mentioned above how much she says mine. She was already doing this at 20 months. It struck me then that this idea of possession is quite a sophisticated concept for a child to acquire.

I haven’t heard her using other possessive pronouns (such as yours or hers) or possessive adjectives (such as my, your or her).

She does combine 2 nouns in a possessive phrase, though: possessor and possessed. But she doesn’t yet add the –’s inflection used in adult English for this purpose. For example, I was walking with her one day and she suddenly said Grandad car. When I asked her what she meant, she pointed at a car which looks like my car (it was the same colour and model). So, she meant that it was my car—but she said Grandad car, rather than Grandad’s car.   

Numbers

She quite often says one or two. If you point at 1 or 2 objects and ask how many there, she answers correctly, so clearly understands the context. But I haven’t heard her combine numbers with nouns (except in the blue one car construction I mentioned above, where I think she isn’t using one as a number).

I haven’t yet heard her use numbers above two. And I haven’t heard her show that she has a concept yet of how many items are present if there are more than 2.

Vocabulary and pronunciation

At 20 months, I estimated that could produce several dozen words, including no (or very few) verbs. She produces many more words now (including many verbs), and she keeps producing words that surprise me. I have no idea how many words she now produces, but it must be well over 100. 

As I said last time, she pronounces words very clearly, perhaps more clearly than many children of that age.

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