Saturday, August 9, 2008

Speak! Please?

I'll admit it.
I've been getting a bit paranoid about the twins and their language skills as their 18-month appointment approaches (It is scheduled for Monday, about three weeks late.). They seem to understand most everything: they run to their highchairs when I ask whether they want to eat; they bring us their shoes or go to the door when we suggest going outside; they can make a wide variety of animal noises on command.
But they just don't really speak.
They have a few clear words. (Well, I can't really think of any that are clear right now, but they do talk a lot.) They practice inflection frequently, usually imitating the true inflection of conversation. They rely heavily on nonverbal expressions, like when they shove books at us, put shoes on our feet or tug on our shirts if we dare try to read the paper, eat some breakfast or even just rest our heads on the table.
Yet when I listen to other toddlers communicate, it just isn't the same.
Despite our best efforts, Jonathan and Matthew are sinking quickly into the language of twinese with such sounds as "nah" for "done" (Where the heck did that come from?) or "seh" for "sit" or "da" for almost anything they want the other twin to see.
So, of course, I turned to Google.
And this is what I found.
According to this recent study, the boys might be behind in language speaking ability, but they are probably right on track as far as overall language development. As twins, they simply tend to use nonverbal skills more often than words.
In fact, they might have an advantage over singletons and twins who do not create their own languages. According to the authors, twin language (or twinese or idioglossia or cryptophasia) enhances language development in a way that is similar to the language enhancement experienced by bilingual children.
Now this study might be flawed.
It is based on a small sampling: the children of 26 mothers of twins and singletons.
But, who cares.
Before I Googled this study, I was worried that my boys might be behind in their communications skills. These folks say Jonathan and Matthew might, instead, be above average.
Their study is good enough for me.

4 comments:

Lexi said...

Early Development has given me and the doctor lots of info on language development and twins. They are generally "delayed" but nothing that is of a concern because they are twins. That article you pulled out is probably pretty accurate.

cat said...

Now that would be my approach as well - good enough for me. What we were given (in advice from other twin moms) is to ignore requests from parents if not verbalised. Ie ignore book, wait for them to "ask "you to read.

Ponyboy said...

I stumbled onto this after somewhat randomly looking into twinspeak, or twinese (I got curious and am a brilliant procrastinator). I like your writing, and enjoyed reading your brief bio-- something nice about happening onto a total stranger's writing who you in some ways should never have encounterd. As a young woman who thought she would write (and make art, and join the circus) and does but has found it hard to balance it all with paying the bills, I just wanted to share my appreciation for your own efforts to keep up your craft amidst a considerably full and demanding life. I know you probably have just barely enough time for your writing here, but have you got any other projects in the works? and/or advice to a young full-time working writer?
Thanks!

twinsmom said...

Thanks for your incredibly kind words! I do have another project going. I am working on a nonfiction book about stay-at-home moms. I just finished the proposal and now the hard work begins. I hope to finish the book by spring. I checked out your blog and I love your style. The most important advice I can think to give you is to always be appreciative of and open to criticism. Your writing must speak to the readers or you'll never earn a living with it. That doesn't me that you have to act on all criticism, but it's important to always accept it with an open mind. I've bookmarked your blog and I look forward to reading more. What kind of projects are you working on?