10 June 2010

Oliver's Words (contd)

I have previously discussed some of the early words spoken by my grandson, Oliver (here). I am now in the UK, so I am able to play with him every day and at the same time to collect data on his speech.

He is now at the two-word stage, with a few utterances of three or more words; and I will try to provide an analysis of what he says over the next few blogs.

Of course, it is never possible to collect everything, and inevitably, the most interesting utterances occur when you are not recording. But still, I will try and provide an analysis of the recordings I have made.

Analysis of child language raises some interesting questions. Among these are:
  • What is he saying? Sometimes even his parents aren't too sure about some of the words he says.
  • What is a word? Clearly, allgone is a single lexical item for him, even if the adult equivalent is two words. But what about a phrase like shoes off? This is a fixed phrase that he says quite often, so maybe it also is one item, not two.
  • How much variation is there? He says off as [ɒʃ], but is it always the same?
  • He has [f] at the start of flower [fawə]; so why not at the end of off? Does pronunciation depend on syllables, so initial consonants are completely different from finals?