Bilingual toddler at 21 months

At 21 months, Emma is trying to communicate a lot of things, but still mostly using sounds like "a a", "aaah", "ooh" and babbles that sound like conversation but without any intelligible words.  She relies a lot on non-verbal gestures and facial expressions - pointing, patting, pulling and pushing, holding up her hands, saying "shsh" with her finger to her lips, and of course hugs and kisses.

Bilingual toddler at 21 months

She doesn't seem close to the 50-plus words that toddlers are supposed to be able to produce by the time they are two, and is definitely not stringing two words together yet, but she still has three months to go till she reaches that age.  Lots of people have told me that bilingual children take longer to learn to speak.  I don't know if this is the case, but I do know that the words she is producing are both Spanish and English - perhaps slightly more Spanish now - and in terms of comprehension she understands pretty much everything we say to her in both languages.

Here are some of the new things she's started saying recently:

Emma's new favourite word: "yaya" which means allá; there or over there in Spanish.    Whenever We ask her where something or someone is that's not right next to her, the answer is "yaya" and pointing in the direction of the object or person, or to a vague somewhere else if what we're asking about isn't in the same room.

She also sometimes says "ta ti" which is aqui, or here.

She can now say the full name of her grandmother's dog, Zidane - she used to call him "See", now he's "See-Dan", the two syllables clearly separated.

She says her own name as "Mma", missing out the first syllable.

In general, Emma tends to use the first sound of most words, missing out the last sounds, like in the following examples:

"Boo" for boots and blue.

"Moo" is moon.

"Ma" is milk, more, all gone.

She still says "shee" for yes (Spanish si) and "ma" for no (neither English nor Spanish!).  "Shee" is another favourite word, she answers most questions in affirmative with a little nod!  She also uses it to say that she wants something, pointing to the object with an excited "shee, shee, shee!"

"Mama" and "Papá/ Dada" are the words Emma's been using the longest; now she says them not only to refer to mummy and daddy and to get our attention, but also to refer to things that belong to us.  She points at Daddy's phone and says "Papá", for example, or she picks up my water bottle and says "Mama".

Anyway, those are a few of the things I've noticed about her speech and I guess we'll see what developments the next three months bring.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. aww it is fantastic that you are teaching her both languages! I wouldn't worry about her speech at all - I bet it will be an almost instantaneous thing when she starts speaking sentences :) Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again in the New Year xx

  2. I always envy little kids who speaks various language... I love to teach my kids my own language too so they can communicate better with my family back home in Phils. but I don't want them to mixed it up with English, or I might be wrong with this assumption. Your little Emma sounds adorable! #KCACOLS