Sunday, January 15, 2006

Language Acquisition 2

Girl is intent on labeling, as her brother was at her age, but she approaches it differently. Whereas Boy would go through picture books and demand to be told what word labeled the pictures - Girl points to her doll, or the plastic duck that covers the faucet in the bathtub, and labels the parts: "eye!" and "hat!" (yes, the duck is wearing a hat); the words she can't come close to pronouncing yet, such as "brush" and "beak" and so on, she points to imperiously, by way of demanding that I say the words for her; and when I do, she says "yeah!" in a tone of pure satisfaction.

So is Girl's thinking, or her approach anyway, in some way less abstract than Boy's, or more oriented toward human (or anyway human-like) features, or toward learning to "read," for example, facial expressions or emotions? That's one possible explanation, I guess. She does particularly enjoy playing a game with facial expressions, often catching my eye and "pulling a face" (a scowl, or a suspicious glare, or an exaggerated hauteur) and then riffing off the expression I make in response.


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