My British English speaking daughter also said ‘all gone’ (pronounced oogah) as her first word after the mama, dada, baba sounds. But she also very shortly afterwards invented her own word, ‘shubanna’, which she called any small, smooth article like a colourful pebble or bead. I don’t know where she got it from, but she is now a doctor of linguistics and still inventing words.
These are all interesting answers to me, because I didn’t talk until I was almost three, and the first time I talked, I had a normal conversation in full sentences with my grandmother. I understand this isn’t as usual as people think.
It’s not unheard of, and may be more common than you think (in my career I’ve come across a number of children whose speech developed in this way), nevertheless this is far less usual than the standard pattern of emerging speech. I have no idea of the actual data.
More boys develop late speech in this way than girls. It’s extremely rare among girls.
I guess females just can’t keep their mouths shut.
I have read that late-talking children usually have certain things in common: They generally have someone in their family (parents, aunts, uncles, etc.) who is in some highly technical occupation, such as engineers, mathematicians, computer programmers, or even musicians (the kind who can actually read music).
These late talkers tend to go into highly technical professions themselves, when they grow up.
I have read that Albert Einstein was a late talker, and so was Thomas Edison, I believe.
My son’s first coherent word was not “mama” or “papa”. It was “ботинок” (he pronounced it “bodinga”) - which meant “a boot”. He was not an early speaker and I remember how glad he was at that moment. He ran and jumped and swinged his boot holding its shoelace…
When a toddler my daughter liked to climb onto anything: a fence, a gym bar, a windowseal… She often fell down, then she used to stand up and said “ещё” (she pronounced it as “isyo”), which meant “once more”.
But what if you said something when noone was around to hear?
I think that unless there’s 24 hour audio surveilance of a kid, there’s no way of telling what the kid said for the first time, and the whole question is a moot point.
According to my mom, I said something in cursive (that is, I said a curse word), because my parents used to squabble a lot when I was young. =)
Fair point, but those are probably more rather sounds that do not exist in the child’s linguistic environment. I find it interesting what words children learn to communicate something by adapting to their environment. You could say that coming up with an utterance such as ‘algun’ plays up to the linguistic needs of their parents and gives voice to a basic need (for food).