If I were suddenly dropped into a foreign country I would be highly motivated to learn the language. I would focus first on the things I see around me every day, and on the services I want the most. How to get food. Where to go for my basic needs. How to interact with the inhabitants.
Zoe was 15 months old Monday, and suddenly began to talk. She had been signing a little before now – just the important words, like gorilla and elephant – but now she can tell us what the dog says, and the cat and the cow. And the duck. And the horse. And the giraffe.
Why on earth does she start with the animal sounds instead of actual words? Is a cow going to give her a bath and put her to bed? Is the dog going to fetch her some grapes from the fridge and let her pick them off the stem herself? Will the cat comfort her when she cries? Will the gorilla catch her at the bottom of the slide?
I think that this is pretty normal – other parents proudly brag about their babies imitating sheep and snakes and monkeys (WHY can’t Zoe do the sheep yet? What’s wrong with her?) – but it makes no sense to me. What is the evolutionary use of speaking to imaginary cows instead of actual mommies and daddies? Why speak Duck and not English?
Babies are weird.