Out of the Mouths of Babes

As a language educator, I was fascinated with young
children and their efforts to use the English language.
Certain letters were initially problematic such as the letter L.
When asked her name, our daughter would tell others

her name was EM-MAH-WEE. We thought our son’s name
would be less difficult. He told people his name was THOMA.
He couldn’t get that final S to his name for some time. The
Requests for MUK or MOK from either child elicited a smile.

I then poured milk into their cups. One days as I was
cleaning, our son declared that the BACK-Y CLEANER
was too loud! I finished cleaning and stored the
vacuum cleaner so he could play his imaginary games

with cars and trucks uninterrupted. Both children
requested certain foods for dinner too. Our daughter
requested PIS GETTI since she craved this pasta. My attempts
to get the SP sound at the beginning of spaghetti were

for naught. She mirrored the word SPINACH just fine but
quickly said she wanted PIS GETTI for dinner. After polishing
off his favorite food, hamburgers, our son declared that
he just loved HANG GUR BURS. Another smile from me.

With our daughter’s birthday fast approaching, my
husband and I recalled with fond memories their
early attempts at language acquisition. I still smile at all the
hugs and I WUV YOUs uttered to us. We are lucky parents!


This entry was posted in children and language learning, names, words and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Out of the Mouths of Babes

  1. We had a niece who said spaghetti the same way. I smiled every time I heard it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anne, haha. Had to smile at your comment. I was confounded when I tried to get our daughter for form the SP sound. No issues with the word spinach. Both words had identical beginning letters too. Oh well. As she grew, the words came out correctly. Lots of smiles along the way. Hope your weekend is grand. oxox


  2. Darlene says:

    So cute. My kids had their words too. I should have written them down.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those were the days… ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Peter Klopp says:

    These are wonderful memories of your little children learning the basics of language acquisition, Mary Ann. Our first son born in Calgary grew up in a German-speaking environment. As a two-year-old, he had trouble saying Lampe and refused any correction. Instead of Lampe he said Ampel. Haha! How much fun we had with his linguistic experiments!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Russell Nemecek says:

    Fond memories for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Emily says:

    So cute I miss these days!! Thanks for sharing, such beautiful memories xoxo.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beck says:

    My daughter (5) still says babing suit for bathing suit. It sounds so adorable that I have never corrected her. But I realize I have to now otherwise other kids might tease her. My favorite age for all my kids has been that language forming time. I just love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beck, thank you for reading and commenting. I just love BABING suit. Are there other examples of the TH sound your daughter uses? When I taught in Germany, I heard an S substituted for the TH since in the German language, there is no TH. Try substituting an S or Z for the word THE and you get the picture. In English, we do not have some of the UMLAUT sounds so I constantly had to teach that to my students. So when it came time for a bath for your daughter, I am curious to know how she said that word. I too love what comes out of the mouths of babes! Enjoy the weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beck says:

        No trouble with the bath except as is normal “baff” the first several attempts. It’s funny because I am a stickler for proper pronunciation and always correct all three of my children immediately when they mispronounce words. I have two older children (15, 13) and then my younger surprise (5)! It wasn’t or isn’t that she ever had trouble with th it was just that when she said babing suit the first time we all just loved it and so we kind of all adopted the word. She would have corrected much sooner but none of us had the heart to fix it. We all refer to the bathing suit as BABING suit! 🤦‍♀️
        Both of my daughters have an s lisp. I have tried in vain to correct it but we’ve had no success. 😔
        I studied German in high school and still try to keep up with the language. The pronunciation of the UMLAUT sounds always were/are difficult for me. My German friend is a linguist and within 2 months of living in the States with me there was no sign of an accent! I always thought that incredible.
        Thank you and have a great weekend too!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Beck, thank you for more pronunciation gems. Let babes be babes. I constantly corrected wrongly pronounced words as a teacher. In retrospect with our two children, I could have used more patience with their language acquisition. We muddled through and managed to have a good time too. Maintaining a sense of humor is important in life. Relax and take a “baff” at the end of your day. I’m sure someone somewhere has maintained a list of words common to five year olds. How sweet! Thanks once again!

        Liked by 1 person

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