February 1st, 2009

Walkie Talkie

look at her go! (watch both at once!)

nico’s been adding words to her lexicon at an exponential rate. sometimes she means what they usually mean, but sometimes she’ll use them more broadly. so, for instance, she says “uh oh” if something falls to the ground, but she’ll also say it as she’s deliberately tossing something on the floor.

other uses seem more synecdochic. e.g., she sees lots of pictures of babies, so “baby” could mean baby, or it could refer to a picture or pictures (not necessarily of a baby). similarly, she recently learned to “woof” like a dog from one of those books about animals and the sounds they make, so she currently uses the word “woof” also to say “book.”

the contents of her vocabulary, more or less in order of plausible utterance —

light (~dite)
bottle (~babu)

she also knows the gesture for “shhh” (see the end of the video on the right), and we’ve taught her the sign for “more.”

things’re getting fun!


  • 1. Eric  |  February 1st, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Brilliant diptych! I want a baby. Especially one who’s already interested in early 20th c. modernism. I’ll make her a Max Ernst mobile for her next birthday, promise.

  • 2. Christina  |  February 1st, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    You should write down all the words she’s saying in a word cloud for maximum visualization pleasure. Until it gets too overwhelming, that is…

  • 3. Canyon Cody  |  February 2nd, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    A parent ly, second language akquisition is easier for the yout. If she starts now, Nico could be translating Tego for her pops in no time . . .

    and didyouknow that portable twoway radios are known in Spanish as “walkie talkies” — yet the French decided to prioritize the semiotic over the kinetic and utilize the barbarism “talkie walkie”?


  • 4. Michael  |  February 2nd, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Wayne, I love hearing about the semantic striving of your little one. They are especially resonant as I’m currently rereading Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, and Nico’s mistakes are of precisely the kind that Witty sometimes likes to bring up (e.g. in §28) to make the point that ostensive definitions are always interpretable in various ways. (This idea was later developed by Quine.)

    It’s always fun when the real world resonates with philosophy, as it did recently when I was reading McTaggart’s “The Unreality of Time” and became so engrossed that my pasta overcooked.

  • 5. Lateef  |  February 3rd, 2009 at 11:34 am

    She’s sooooo cute – thanks for sharing!

  • 6. wayneandwax  |  February 3rd, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Thanks to all for the kind words — and suggestions!

    Canyon, it’s killing me that we had to switch daycare providers this fall (Nico goes three times a week). The first place we found was awesome for a number of reasons but especially because it was a Spanish-speaking home, hence Nico’s occasional lingering accent on “bebé.” Unfortunately, our first provider had to move (to LA no less!), so we went in search of and found another place, where, it turns out, a little Portuguese is spoken, but it’s not the bilingual experience I would most hope for.


I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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