Learning the language

This afternoon I visited my neighbour, Mrs Cupcake, for a cup of tea and a chat. Her 3 year-old son, Master Cupcake, was drawing a picture at the table as we chatted and occasionally would interrupt us.

I said somebody “was going through an unhappy phase”. Master Cupcake said, “What’s an unhappy phase?” As he said this in his unbelievably cute little way, it suddenly dawned on me that there were two words he might possibly have heard: phase and face.

I explained ‘phase’ and he seemed satisfied (phew!). He didn’t seem to think that there was any contradiction with his understanding of the word ‘face’ so I left it at that.  How amazing that he had distinguished the two words which are so incredibly close in pronunciation!

It also reminded Mrs Cupcake and me that although he seemed to be entirely absorbed in creating a multi-coloured fish he was in fact taking in every word and that we might have to be careful about the subjects we discuss in his presence!

One thought on “Learning the language

  1. hear hear!
    thank you for this story… makes me think of the voice spectrum, and how babies can detect the slightest difference in vowel sounds – stuff we adults wouldn’t necessarily notice. your little cookie master man noticed a slightly elongated /a/ sound, and a slightly voiced /z/ in the middle of your conversation (depending on your pronunciation – that’s the difference here!) amazing, we humans…especially the really little ones!

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