Top 20 baby words

DC2 is about to the age in which ze starts saying things, so I got to wondering what are the early words that babies say.

Fortunately, there’s research on this topic.  I came across a 2008 article from some psychologists at Stanford that includes a chart titled, Rank-Ordered Top 20 Words for Children Who Can Say 1–10 Words on CDI and Percentage of Children Producing Them, by Language

It’s Table 4 if you click that link.  They include Hong Kong and Beijing’s words as well.

Here’s the words for the United States (copied from Tardif et al. 2008).
(n = 264)
Daddy
Mommy
BaaBaa
Bye
Hi

UhOh
Grr
Bottle
Yum Yum
Dog
No
Woof Woof
Vroom
Kitty
Ball
Baby
Duck
Cat
Ouch
Banana

My first word (not counting Ma’s and Da’s) was the same as my oldest’s first word, “Hi” there on the list.  DC2 hasn’t gotten to “Hi.”  Months ago DC2 was saying key (for kitty) but that seems to have dropped out of the lexicon and has been replaced with Ca (for cat).  Dog has been added.    Ze says, “Yeah,” a lot to signal agreement. Ze can make three different sounds that dogs make — “bowwow” they taught at daycare, “woof” I taught hir, and DH taught hir panting [update:  ze can also make stuffed dog make the slobbery dog kisses sound now, so that’s 4].  Occasionally we’ll hear a ba for bottle, or a bana or nana for banana.  Ze may be saying a lot more, but it’s awfully difficult to tell with the pronunciation.  I remember that DC1 was really into animal sounds, especially barn animals, when ze started to talk in earnest.

Do you have any cute baby word stories?  What was your first word?  Were your first or your children’s first (if applicable) on the list?

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What do you call your pets (or children)?

Obviously your pets have names, but chances are that’s not what you always call them.

We have Big Cat and Little Cat.  Sometimes we call big cat, “butterball.”  Little cat can be, “baby kitty.”  We may occasionally say “snuggly wuzzikin,” or “kittikens.”  We have some nicknames based on their real names as well.

#2 :  Mine is baby.  fuzz-face.  goober.  fuzzball.  gooberkitty.  sweetie.  [name]-baby. kit-kit.

Children are “snuggle-bun” and “snuggers” and “baby” and  “precious” and “honey.”  Also “little/big guy/girl” as appropriate for age and expressed gender.  Occasionally a “cutie-patootie” will sneak in.

What do you call your pets (or children)?  If you have/had neither pets nor children, what were you called growing up?

Dear bloggers [a point of grammar],

There’s an easy way to figure out if you’re supposed to say “person and I” vs. “person and me.”

Say the sentence to yourself without the “person and” part.  We know you get it right when you’re starting a sentence with just “I” or using “me” appropriately later on.  There’s large swaths of the country that start sentences with “Me and him” but we know you wouldn’t do that.

“What works for DH and I” or “What works for DH and me”?  Think to yourself “What works for I” or “What works for me”?  Hopefully doing that has caused you to choose “What works for DH and me.”

Similarly when you’re labeling photos– “My BFF and I” would be appropriate if you finish the sentence “My BFF and I are eating ice cream” but is inappropriate if that’s all you’re labeling the picture with.  Do you label pictures just “I”, or do you label them “me”?  Therefore, the picture is labeled “My BFF and me.”

This has been a public service announcement from the grumpy grammarians.

What do you call your own partner?

Previously we talked about what to call other people’s significant others.  But that was cold and impersonal.  What about the special someone (if any) in your own life?

#1:  He’s “my hero” and “snuggle bun” and “beautiful,” occasionally, “beautiful, wonderful.”  In the winter, I sometimes just call him, “warm.” He used to call me “sweet stuff,” but I think it’s been several years since he used that as a nickname.  Now I’m generally “precious.”  Also “wife” and “sexy wife.”

#2: Um.  We have nicknames for each other, but they are personal.

I call both him AND the cat sweetie.  I also call my partner love, baby, honey.  He calls me “love” sometimes.  Sometimes I call him ridiculous things like snooky-ookums, but not seriously.  And I call him “sweet one”.    Oh yeah, and cute-patootie.  But mostly we use the personal nicknames when we’re expressing affection.

If you’re partnered up, what do you call your own significant other, like to hir face?  What does ze call you?  How do you refer to hir to other people?

How do you refer to someone’s romantic partner?

If they’re married, you can say husband or wife.  If they’re engaged, there’s various spellings of fiance.

What about all those other situations?

Boyfriend and Girlfriend sound a bit adolescent.  As do “young gentleman” and “young lady.”

We use partner a lot, but we’ve heard people complain that it often signals a non-heterosexual relationship or a couple that does not believe in marriage, and so it’s too focused to be used more generally.  (We use it anyway, just not with people who complain about it.)

#1 is a big fan of significant other, or SO for short.  She picked that up from her mom.  But Debbie M suggests that she has many others in her life who play significant roles, “Highly significant other–in a good way”–isn’t quite right either, though.

Sometimes I’ll say, “your guy” if I can’t remember the guy’s name.  (Shhh.)  But it doesn’t seem to work so well in my mind if the significant other in question is female.

We don’t say, “your old man” or “your old lady” anymore.  And with good reason!  My grandma used to say beau.  Does anybody say swain anymore?

Soulmate seems a bit personal.  I figure people can make that determination about their own partners but probably not about other couples.

Mi mama sometimes says inamorato(a).  What can I say, we’re a family of romantics.  (Though with exes, it is always “former flame”.  What can I say, we adore alliteration.)

Some other suggestions:  helpmeet? life partner? partner in Romance?  Most significant other?  Best beloved?

How do you refer to someone’s romantic partner?