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My husband and I live in the USA (Houston, TX). He is American and I am French. At home, we usually speak English but sometimes we have our "French days" Our daughter, Morgane, is 16 months old. I exclusively speak to her in French, even if we are among English speaking people (my in-laws, daycare, stores etc...). My husband speaks to her in English. She understands both language. In April 2008, my daughter & I went to France to visit my family for 3 weeks. Nobody spoke English to her. When we came back, my husband started speaking to her in French, naturally... I was quite glad. As I said before, Morgane understands both language. She goes to daycare (English) and she plays with the other children. The thing is that when she talks, no one understands what she is saying. When I pick her up at daycare, she seems to tell me all the wonderful things she did with her friends, but it doesn't make any sense (i.e : bli blou bla...). She looks very convincing. It is hilarious!! But I wonder if it's normal. The other children at daycare say some words and try to make "sentences". The only real words Morgane says are "No" (a lot !!!!), "Mama", "Papa", "Hi" and "bye bye", after that, it's gibberish... Thank you
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Totally normal! And, it can even go well in to their second year / beginning of third. Although frustrating for your daughter that you don't speak her language 'from outer space' it is her way of using the phonemes and melody of the language(s). You can probably make out questions, in that she raises her voice at the end of the sentence. It is a total hoot! We actually made a video of a particularly long and involved treatise of our two year old, and it was brilliant -- except there was not a single word in it know to mankind...
This gibberish is often followed by a 'point-and-grunt' period. They realize that you don't understand it so in order for them to achive their goal they point to what it is they want and grunt. Not nearly as fun, but language will suddenly start to happen -- very complex stuff for little babies. Just keep going like you are! /Christina MCA founder