Developing Language

I’ve been working on this post about Storm’s growing vocabulary for a while now. I just couldn’t seem to find the right time to finish it. In my head, I was waiting for his language development to reach a point where I could conclude something about it, I guess. Except that’s not really how language develops at all. Sure, linguists try to identify milestones and stages, but in the real world, such things are never really neatly defined, the boundaries are always blurry. As a consequence of remembering that, I’m just going to post this blog entry, and we’ll just think of it as a some snapshots of where we are right now and how we got here.

So, some thoughts and some word lists:

Storm has begun to learn that words can refer to objects. It’s a fascinating process to observe – what words he catches on to, how he pronounces them, and how he limits and extends their meaning. And also how some words are at the front of his mental vocabulary for a while, and then seem to fade into the background again.

His vocabulary really started to expand around the Christmas holidays, and of course, it hasn’t stopped since. Here are some words and their uses that I’ve noticed in the past months: 


vuh – mostly to refer to dogs. Also once to a fish…
googah -google
buuh – either the sound of a cow, or a request to have google play animal sounds
gung-gung – ‘rundt’, round/around – mostly refers to the ‘Wheels on the Bus’- song (and his music book that plays this song), but also to washing machines, wheels, and anything that looks like a (washing) machine. 

uh-uhuhuh (I’ve used this sound to refer to things being cold or sour, and that’s pretty much how Storm uses it)
guh/gå – ‘skål’, cheers
*snort* – pig 
buh – cow sound
grrrr- tiger, lion, bear, sometimes cats
aaaaw – meow
boom – boom, used for things falling or being thrown on the ground
bam – the sound when you hit a flat surface
aguh – ‘værsgo’, here you go
sut – ‘sut’, pacifier (also in February: the Dutch version: behn -‘speen’, and in March the English one: bezi)
baj – ‘spejl’, mirror
be-bi – baby
dehn – ‘sten’, stone 
ah-doo – achooo

In addition to using words, Storm started communicating in other ways in January. When he got frustrated, and we were not understanding him or not enabling him physically, he would sometimes try to bite. And when he would feel happy and cuddly, he would show us by sort of leaning on us or kissing us, always with a completely open mouth.


In February, Storm started bringing to us or wanting to hand us his jacket and shoes, to indicate that he wanted to go outside (generally to go see the washing machines in the laundry room).

He also started to discover his multiple languages. On the morning of February 18, he woke up, found his pacifier, and excitedly exclaimed ‘behn’ (speen), which is the Dutch word. He repeated that a few times, took the pacifier out of his mouth, then said ‘sut’ (the Danish word), and put it back in.

blim – ‘appelsin’, orange (Feb 4)
sin – ‘rosin’, raisin (Feb 5)
bloom – ‘bloem’, flower (Feb 11)
din-din, ‘ding, ding, dong’ (from the Brother John song, Feb 12)
hok – ‘sok’, sock (Feb 16)
ap -‘op’/up (~Feb 16)
sjun – sun (Feb 21)
lain – rain (Feb 21)
lat – light (Feb 21)
sjuu – shoe
blk – milk
odt – ‘ost’, cheese
uhu – owl sound
klik – anything that makes a click-sound when closed, like the stroller harness, the seatbelt buckle, his floatie vest


In March, Storm really increased his English vocabulary, probably due to starting daycare. He also, to my mingled delight and dismay, started calling me ‘mama’. Since I’m the only person referring to myself as ‘mor’, he hasn’t learned that as the name for me. Instead, when pressed, he will say ‘mor’ and point at himself, exactly like I always do at myself. So that backfired…

Lahdah! Gen!
A forgotten box of photos boosted Storm’s learning of names
Lah-lah, lah-lah. Preferably with each utensil in turn…

blane – plane
dit – his music card reader, which makes a beep sound when it reads a card
ti – ‘te’, tea
Dasja – Dasa
eg – ‘æg’, egg
bnana – banana
blaba -‘blåbær’, blueberries
mah – more (usually accompanied by an index-finger version of the ASL sign MORE)
lahdah – ‘water’, water
lydh – ‘lys’, light, candle
Momor – ‘mormor’, maternal grandmother
Papa (he’s been saying papa forever, but now he’s getting the p’s right)
Omma -‘oma’, grandmother
Oppa – ‘opa’, grandfather
mør – ‘smør’, butter
bahtah – ‘butter’, peanut/almond butter
kas – ‘kaas’, cheese
aga – ‘jakke’, jacket
lugu – yoghurt
dai – ‘dej’, dough
bluh -‘brød’, bread
lah-lah – ‘røre’, stir
pada -pasta
Sinshen – Vincent
Meka – Mikael
bah -‘bal’, ball
bablu – bubbles
shhh (with index-finger-on-mouth gesture)
buku – ‘bukser’, pants
poopoo – ‘poop’
ge – ‘ske’, spoon
pizeh – pizza
vehl – ‘hval’, whale
bad – ‘bad’, bath
nej – ‘nej’, no
mao -‘mave’, belly
au, ‘av’, ow
cawcaw – bird sounds
gen – ‘igen’/again
ahm – tasty things, mostly dates, candy and cookies. Sometimes also an invitation to eat the food he is offering

And as I’m writing this list, I’m remembering more and more words, and I’m sure I have left out even more. But a quick count tells me that we’ve hit the 50-word mark, which is one of those milestones. Usually, after 50 words, children start learning new words at a much faster rate than they did before. Storm also reached another milestone of sorts in mid-March. This one was complementary pointing, that is, a word and a point that do not refer to the same thing. In Storm’s case, he one time pointed at Paulus’s shoe and said ‘Papa’, and the other time pointed at his empty plate and said, quite emphatically, ‘blahba’ (blueberries). They are his favorite food at the moment. These events suggest that Storm should start putting two words together towards the end of May. I think it will be sooner, but I’ll be sure to report back when it happens.

And with that, I’ll quickly end this post before Storm wakes up from his nap and learns another word.


  1. Great post. I think is he rather early in using language. One of the first things I remember of Storm are the words in a song: hi-hi-hi , ha- ha -ha (ik zag 2 beren broodjes smeren).


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