This Week 11/52: Toddler Grammar

The other day I was writing a post called Conversations with my Toddler  about Emma's developing communication skills and also the difficulties sometimes in understanding what she's trying to communicate and it got me thinking about grammar.  More specifically, about whether Emma's sentences actually contain all the grammatical components necessary to make them proper sentences.  Sorry if this sounds really dry and boring, but after teaching English as a Foreign Language for many years I can't help it, that's just how my mind works.  So forgive me, but I will go on.

All sentences must contain a subject (person or thing that does the action) and a verb (the action).  I remember reading somewhere that generally the first words that children say are nouns, the names of people or objects, and verbs tend to come later.  So I started making a list in my head of the verbs Emma uses and I realised that while she has a rapidly-growing vocabulary, not very many of those words are verbs.

Here's the list so far:
In English:
Wash daan
San up (stand up)
Fy (fly)
Sen (listen)
Pen (open)
Am am am (eating!) - do sound effects count as verbs?? Stretching it a bit, perhaps!

This week 11/52: Verbs

In Spanish:
Ven (imperative of the verb come)
Ten (here you are, imperative of the verb have)
Cae (fall)
Mira (imperative of the verb look) - I heard her say this yesterday for the first time when she was showing me some little model horses.
Mo sa (No está - it isn't there)

It's much easier to make a sentence in Spanish as the subject is built into the verb.  In English they are separate, except in the imperative form - a command, like Run, Stand up.  Anyway, I think her sentence formation still has a long way to go!

In another grammatical note, while I'm at it, I have noticed Emma using an adjective and noun together, and in the correct order, too.  Some examples are boo char, dity hans, teen hans, yeyo ba. (Translation: blue chair, dirty hands, clean hands, yellow ball - it was actually a picture of the sun, so maybe she's grasping the idea of metaphors now!)

Okay, I feel like I've rambled on enough about this.  Indulge me, it's my birthday today, and Emma's having a long lie-in while I take advantage of the quiet morning to write.  It's so peaceful when I'm the only one up!

I'm finishing this post a couple of days later as I didn't get time on Sunday.  I'll leave you with my Quote of the Week, to remind us it's not a good idea to have everything we want.

Quote Bertrand Russell

Cuddle Fairy


  1. Oh that is really interesting, I never really thought about the order that my girls learned words or how they used them. I guess that is the difference when you don't have bilingual children. I love your quote, it reminds me of that old saying 'be careful what you wish for', it isn't always the answer or what you thought it would be. Thank you for linking with #candidcuddles xx

  2. I love watching and listening to children learning language. My favorite is when they learn all the irregular past tense verbs (went, heard) and then learn the add -ed to make verbs past tense. Then you get words like wented and hearded. Just adorable =)

  3. It really is amazing to listen to language develop!! Kids seem to start with half of the word then add the rest. Love the quote - I think we appreciate things more when they don't come easy. #candidcuddles