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September 21, 2011

Talking Nonsense

On some level, I had secretly hoped to witness “twin speak”, that phenomenon that you always hear about between twins…the language they develop that only they can understand.

I wouldn’t say that our girls started speaking early, but when their speech really took off – around 19 or 20 months – it was plain ol’ English.

Over the past six months, our girls’ language has blossomed. I am truly amazed every day at what they say, and how they say it.

And over the past couple of months, my husband and I have been making more of a concerted effort to speak Russian (which I studied in school) and Serbian (Hubby’s native language) with the girls.

I wish I could say we were truly raising them in a multilingual household, but that’s not really the case. They can count to 10 in Serbian and say a few basic phrases. They can sing a song in Russian and recite a nursery rhyme, and I read several Russian-themed books to them (in English).

I know this level of attention from Hubby and me won’t lead them to be fluent in another language. But I at least hope that these interactions will give them a basic sense for Slavic languages, and give them an appreciation that other people around the world speak in a different way than we do.

Over the past month or so, amid singing a popular Russian folk song and identifying 15 or so states on a map, the girls have started to speak what I can only describe as “nonsense”, clearly Something Other Than English.

I’m a padja, and my friend madja, went to the badja.
Mommy, can you say ‘boobadoobamuya’?” [followed by a fit of giggles]

Excuse me???

Some of what they say, like the “padja-madja-badja” stuff, seems like it might have some Slavic influence. Are they pretending to “speak Russian”?

Or, as part of the process of language acquisition, I’ve heard about other kids making up strings of rhyming words. Is that what they’re doing?

I can’t imagine this is “twin speak”. While they laugh at each other for some of the things they say, they don’t seem to be communicating on a deeper (?) level.

In any case, I have to admit this talking nonsense is driving me a bit CrAzY! I don’t mean to squelch their creativity (?), but I can’t resist saying, “Speak English, please!

I’m labeling this post as part of Say What?! Wednesday…hoping some mama, somewhere, might have a clue as to what my babies are actually saying! :)


Just Another Mom of Twins said...

Hmmm....would love to help you work this one out but my kiddies haven't even started talking yet...they are late "bloomers" and do seem to have their own language with one another to communicate.

I would think, from an unexperienced point of view that they are simply taking the opportunity to "try out" the different languages you and your husband are trying to teach them...harmless but it sounds like it might be a little annoying....LOL!

Happy Wednesday!

Beth said...

First of all, I just have to say good for you for exposing them to other languages! Even if they never learn Russian or Serbian, I think the benefits of understanding that other people speak differently than we do are big. Just knowing that there are differences within the world and that this is a good thing.

I think that it sounds like they are mostly having fun with their language. My Izzie still does this a lot and you're right- It does get frustrating. She will walk up, look at me and say, "Iggy biggy boggy goo?" In clearly a questioning tone and wait for me to answer. I always tell her, "I can only speak to you in English. Please use your nice words."

Aren't these little minds interesting?

Marcia (123 blog) said...

My kids don't speak another language at all and do the same.

They talk nonsense and then giggle like crazy.

But after a few rounds of me talking even more nonsense (I repeat what they say) and them laughing even more hysterically, they stop and start normal talking again :)

Barbara Manatee said...

Did you catch my video of Adam yesterday? "Oh man! Barnuts!" After telling a friend, she figured out he was saying "Darnit!" ha!

And wow!! Russian and Serbian? My kids know some spanish...thanks to Dora! ha! (oh...and sign language!)

Dolli-Mama said...

Wow! That's awesome that they are being introduced to other languages so early!

My son does the "nonsence" stuff to, and honestly most of the time I play along. I mean, if he's just being silly and not trying to get me to do something for him. I call it his Dr. Seuss talk.

Julia said...

Mandy, I think that's so great that your girls are getting exposure to your husband's language and to Russian also.

Brad and I have zero to offer our girls, other than my minimal knowledge of French from the four years I took in high school, and his two years of Spanish and one year of German.

I'd really love to try to continue with the sign language, even once they begin speaking. We'll see. It would mean some learning for Mama too ;)

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

Okay, we only speak plain ol' English in our house and we still have made up words that are completely understood among the Crazies. I love it...I just let them babble and giggle along and don't even try to get involved. If I did, I'm sure they'd laugh at me too!

Andrea said...

First let me say, I am a little behind in my reading, so sorry to just now be commenting.

Anyways I love that you and hubby are doing this! How very lucky your girls are to have this opportunity! I am always so in awe over anyone that speaks more than one language! Yes, you read that right English is all I know! A shame , really!!

Oh and I think you girls are totally doing the twin talk!! Love it! :)