The Evolution of Sophie’s Speech

The ability to talk and to make oneself understood using speech is fascinating to me. It’s incredible that little tykes, barely two years old, with a whole lifetime ahead of them, begin to express themselves verbally at such a young age.

Chloe was a late bloomer. She started to talk after she turned two. We attributed this to a couple of things, but mostly because we speak both French and English at home. Now that she’s almost 7, we can’t get her to shut up. Sophie, however, is another story. Sophie’s first words predated her second birthday by a few months. In the beginning, Sophie, like most children, started to speak one incomprehensible word at a time. There weren’t many words, but she used them whenever the opportunity arose. Rather quickly, she began to increase her vocabulary.

For several months, we were convinced she was speaking some form of a Slavic language. Witness the accompanying heartwarming video of Chloe reading to Sophie. After a few seconds, you’ll hear Sophie’s mysterious dialect, as well as a few attempts to repeat words. This video was shot in August, about a month before her 2nd birthday.

Her speech has progressed impressively since then. She is now speaking in full sentences and increasingly repeating new words. The Slavic-sounding babbling has evolved into an almost perfectly understandable English.

And in a sure sign that we have another talker on our hands, I will share the following anecdote with you. We were having dinner at my Mom’s last night when Sophie, suddenly frustrated by something (I don’t remember what it was), came up to me and exclaimed, “Darn it!” She was very proud of her verbal acumen, and grinned at her own cleverness. But when we all started to laugh at her choice of words, she marched away in huff, clearly annoyed that we were not taking her seriously. That, of course, made us laugh some more. But it wasn’t over. Hearing the continuing guffaws, she dramatically turned around (not unlike Scarlett O’Hara) to face her giggling tormenters and cried, “That’s not funny!” Barely two, and yet she managed to get the last word in. Ironically enough, the rest of us, with an accumulated 150 years of talking experience, were speechless.

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