Language is Amazing

For the most part the child’s language seems pretty typical now, but every once in a while something pops up that just highlights how differently she processes words.

The exchange yesterday between the child (age 7) and her little sister (age 3) went something like this…

7 yo: “You Dare!”

3 yo: “I’m not a Dare, I’m a girl.”

7 yo: “No, you’re a Dare…Dare, Dare, Dare.”

3 yo: “I’m not a Dare, I’m a girl!”

7 yo: “Don’t, you Dare, talk to me.”

It took me a minute to figure out what this was all about. I’m sure the child has heard me say it before hundreds of times, “Don’t you dare… [look at me like that, throw that, get up, run in this place, etc.]” But somehow, her brain has interpreted dare not as a verb, but as a noun – a name to call someone when they are doing something you don’t like.

It is better than many other names she might have picked up from the playground or over at a friend’s house, so there is a piece of me that hates to even try to correct this. There is another piece of me that was highly amused – how funny that they were both grappling with language in their own way in the midst of grappling with each other, too. Then there’s another piece that sighs…so many nuances of language and social construct that we have yet to slide into their correct places. Too many to count, and I’m sure we’ll miss quite a few along the way. There is yet another piece that recalls the child 5 years ago who had so few words, the child three years ago who spoke in echolalia most of the time, and I am amazed, really, that any of us learn to communicate through this system of senses, and sounds, and semantics.

Language is a miracle, one that I might not have recognized without watching the torturous path of its development in my child. Bittersweet, isn’t it?

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