First things kids learn to say

What are the first things toddlers learn to say in your language after “mama” and “dada”?

One of the first things American babies learn to say is, “All gone!” when they finish their food. Adults sing it a certain way to them, and the kids pick up the melody.

My mum wrote down mine. They were mama, tickle (said with an ‘e’ instead of an ‘l’), ball, go pool, dada.

My dad wasn’t too happy about being in fifth, and ‘go pool’ must have made it into the top 5 as we were on a holiday at the time.

I read that in many languages, the informal word for mother and father is something like mama, baba, dada, nana, papa, because those are the sounds that babies say first.

Sure, but I was asking what kids in those countries say after that.

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.

A friend of mine’s toddler son used the word “car” for anything that moved on all fours, not just including cars, but also cats, dogs and horses.

My nephew’s first word --after “mama” and “dada”-- was “boobies”. :smiley: What can I say?! He was a breast-fed baby.

Then came “baby”, “water”, “this” and “Shut-up!” – the last of which he still tends to shout to pretty much any barking dog he meets.

Ralf wrote:

I am sorry, whenever I read anything here at ETN, I mean I am here for seeing my
grammar level, nothing else, whatever I wrote or am writing.(only here not every place!)

I keep fingers crossed here for awhile,

“The bus knocked him down”, not down him, I learn t from here many days ago. As one of coaches said, “It is impossible to use pronoun after the preposition”.

Never mind Ralf, you didn’t use any indirect object(elsewhere) after ‘tell’ that is mandatory as we know, exception, he tells a lie, etc.

Why, I am confused.

Mine was “Hunger”.


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. :slight_smile:

I probably wouldn’t have said anything until I was four, had I not always been so hungry!

But seriously: I had severe speech problems up to the age of six.


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.

Winston Churchill also didn’t talk until he was three, and then used proper sentences immediately.

Hi everyone,

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).

So you got your language to a flying start :slight_smile:

Tortie, you mean it is a moot point.

Think of the practices law schools call “moot court”. If it were “mute court”, then the judge, lawyers and witnesses would be unable to talk, and the courtroom would be silent.

You bet!
As a result I can swear with the best of them. Many is the time my mother punished me for my potty mouth.

Yes, come to think of it, “mute” makes no sense in my sentence, I’ve corrected it. =)