Sunday, May 15, 2011

Speech delay?

Little Spanish Pinay loves to talk.  She would talk like she's telling a whole lot of stories and it's hilarious.  Her face full of expressions, she'd nod her head, wrinkle her nose, open her eyes widely or pucker her brows, shrug her shoulders while babbling seemingly trying to explain something or telling a story.  But most of the times, no real words can be taken out from it.  She'd sound like abalala, clakutuk, tak, pa-pa, tah-tah...etc.  Then again there seems to be some words that she does say:

pa or pah-pah --> means papa. She'd even point her finger to her papi if he's around.  If you ask her to call papi she'd put one hand on her mouth and yell paaaaa (with her deep voice)

lolo --> we think this is her attempt to say abuelo (grandpa in Spanish). If you ask her where is lolo or abuelo, she'd look directly at her abuelo and smile.  Then again it seems that she loooves the sound of lolo because she'd repeat it over and over and over again.

teta --> teta is boobie in Spanish.  She'd say teta if she wants to be nursed.  No matter how I try to tell her to say dede (boobie in Filipino) she'd keep on saying teta. Looks like teta is easier for her to say.

eche or  teche --> coche in Spanish and kotse in Filipino which means car.  This is her very recent learned word.

balala --> from bulaklak in Filipino which means flower.  Hard to believe but I do think she says this everytime she'd see flower and then when I recognize what she's saying and pointing out, I'd say "ahhh bulaklak" and then she'd ask me to sing "bulaklak, kay ganda ng bulaklak, kay bango ng bulaklak" while he sings along humming and moving her tongue as if she's also uttering words.

ta --> she calls herself Ta (from Tala).  She says Ta repeatedly everytime she sees herself in the mirror or if she sees a photo of her.

and the rest of her spoken words are still indecipherable to me.

oh, and by the way, the word mami? Nada. Zero.  She doesn't like to call me mami not even ma or mmm.  If I ask her to say mami, she'd say pa and then smile.  She learned the word teta for nursing but she refuses to say mami... what a little rascal.

While I can see that Little Spanish Pinay is very eager to talk, I am still a little bit worried that she may be a little behind with her language development.

See, our LSP hears 2 different languages at home.  I make sure I often talk to her in my native language especially when there's just the two of us while the rest of the world talks to her in Spanish.  Hubby and I decided that we'd want her to learn my native language first prior to English.  Some might think that this is a wrong move since English is a language more useful for her - think globalization, right?  Husband and I both agree that it is also important for her to learn English but our priority right now is for her to learn my native language.  My roots and my heritage which are also part of her roots and heritage now is more important for us at this moment.  Plus, we want her to be able to speak in Filipino with her small cousins and everyone else in the family everytime we visit Philippines.  We are pretty sure anyways that she'll learn English and will be able to speak it fluently.  But that will have to come later.

So I tried to read about bilingualism for infants/toddlers and found out that this is normal.  Bilingual children may start talking a little behind than monolingual children but they will catch up pretty soon.  Here's a short but good article about language development by bilingual babies.  There's also this article  that talks about red flags that may indicate language development problems for children learning 2 languages at the same time.  I do have to take note of them and be keen if Little Spanish Pinay is experiencing any of those.  A little more comprehensive article about bilingualism for children is this.

The ideal situation is the one parent one language.  But in my case, sometimes I do speak to her in Spanish especially if we are with the rest of the family (i.e. my inlaws) as I don't want them to feel uncomfortable about me talking to LSP without them understanding anything.  So it's quite a challenge for me to be consistent on talking to her in my language ALL the time... and this worries me that I amy be confusing her.  Although it is noticeable now that LSP understands both languages as she can follow orders like "Where is..." or "get ... and bring it to mami" in both languages.

We'll see how LSP develops her language and I really hope we'll not bump into a major hurdle and that she'd naturally be able to cope with both languages.

And that she'd say mami soon for crying out loud!!!


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