Baby Talk… no, it’s not about the lame-duck ICEL translation

Just in case you are one of the three people in the internet using universe who hasn’t yet seen this video – I hadn’t until this afternoon – enjoy.

The conversation is at the level of the lame-duck ICEL translation, but it is genuinely funny.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Cath says:

    First time I have seen this. They are so funny. I wonder how long that converstaion lasted?

  2. fieldsparrow says:

    I love this. I’m pretty sure at least part of the conversation is about the missing sock. A good friend is having twins in the next 5-7 weeks, and my mother-in-law is a twin. Maybe someday I will be blessed with twins of my own.

  3. Maltese says:

    That’s seriously one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen (and I have a one-year old heart-stealer)!

    Thanks for sharing, Father!

  4. Maltese says:

    ” I’m pretty sure at least part of the conversation is about the missing sock”

    Good observation fieldsparrow! I think you are exactly right!

  5. Jacob says:

    I am an identical twin. My grandmother told my brother and I stories about how when we were very young we’d sit on rocks that my grandparents had beside their wood stove and have conversations with each other. “Maw-haw,” and such. She always wondered what we were talking about, but we couldn’t say ourselves. :)

  6. benedetta says:

    I loved this video. That’s quite a chat! It is a fact that young siblings will use an invented language with one another, and can even remember it years later.

  7. Andrew says:

    Notice that we learn to speak by speaking. One should never say “I will start speaking that language after I have learned it”. That’s not the way it works. You’ve got to start speaking that language before you’ve learned it. Even if that language is Latin.

  8. One baby is SSPX. The other is FSSP. They’re debating which is better. Doesn’t anyone else realize this?

  9. Thomas G. says:

    This is so strange . . . are they just imitating the conversations they see adults having, or are they actually exchanging information in some bizarre form of pre-language? They have even incorporated gestures and inflection . . . I’m freaked – somebody pour me a whiskey . . . .

  10. benedetta says:

    I think this is a combination of imitation of adults, and babble (which is the way language develops) and it also does appear to be a genuine interaction that only they “comprehend”. It’s about the interaction with each other, the inflection and answer and gesticulating, that they are bonding over, not whatever the content of the message is or might be — the joy of hanging out and being together. With the one little guy if you notice he is missing a sock and several times he lifts up his foot and that might be as close as you can get to knowing any real message or content to it. But they clearly “get” each other. There is some debate among linguists and those who study how/why we learn to talk but I like that book by S. Pinker, the Language Instinct. I think that those in the field would agree that ideally in order to learn any non-native language, the earlier, the better in the way that Andrew describes above.

  11. fieldsparrow says:

    In some ways they are imitating, and in some ways an understanding of language and grammar is innate (which is completely fascinating). It’s perfectly possible that they totally understand what they are saying to one another, even if we don’t. The way children acquire language is amazing. I’m going without a reference here, so please feel free to correct me, but: When children begin making sounds, they make all the sounds. Those aspirated consonants that adult English speakers can’t differentiate (generally) from unaspirated ones, diphthongs that don’t occur in the language spoken by those around them. Eventually they pick up and perfect the sounds that they hear. All this also reminds me of Augustine talking about flailing and wailing as a little child. And there is something already there before you even attend your first day of grammar school that says: Putting these words together in this way, with these inflections, means this is the noun, this is the verb, this is the direct object.

    Adults don’t tend to do this, but children will come up with and apply a formal syntax and grammar (different from a school-taught grammar) to the words around them even if there isn’t one there to begin with.

    How we understand and process language is completely and utterly and wonderfully amazing. I could go on for ages, but again with the not having references to hand, and not wanting to take over Fr. Z’s blog with comments. Signed, a not-yet-done linguistics major with a focus on syntax and the syntax/semantics interface.

  12. Lirioroja says:

    I agree with Andrew and benedetta above. To me it’s clear they do understand each other. What amazes me is how distinct their personalities are. The one missing a sock appears to be more introverted than his brother. I don’t have much experience with young children so seeing such distinct and unique people displaying strong personalities at such a young age always amazes me. This is such a lovely, cute, and funny video.

  13. dancingcrane says:

    Brings back memories – my last two are twin boys, and we are a very talkative family.

    I am learning Ukrainian, and baby books have been very helpful, as was the advice to learn as babies do. That is, repeat what you hear, forming vocabulary around what is most important in your environment and how you interact with it. “I want, I see, I have”. No surprise that I know the Liturgy passing well, as that’s where I hear it most.

  14. Genna says:

    Look, Summorum Pontificum isn’t is scary as you liberals think. It’ll help you stand on your own two feet.

  15. All the gesticulations make me wonder if they’re Italian.

  16. Jeremiah says:

    Father Z, as a father myself (of a 10 month old little girl), I must respectfully disagree with you.

    That is not the level of the lame duck ICEL translations. To call them baby talk is to demean baby talk :)

    Actually, I have found it quite amazing to see my daughter’s reactions to me, especially when I get home from work. There is a breathless excitation in the way she says “Dadadadadadadadada!”, to the point where the first few “da”s aren’t much more than exhalations. The depth of her trust, her desire to be near me, all for no reason than that I am her father, I think this is what Our Lord was talking about when he said to “Come as little children.”

    Those brothers are communicating at a level more profound than just about anything found in the outgoing translations.

  17. BobP says:

    Goes to show, there is much more to communication than using words everyone can understand. It is a cute video, though.

  18. Dear Andrew, Benedetta, everybody:
    Yes, Andrew is quite right. But I would even go a step further and say that it should be obvious that humans learn *language* by speaking and hearing. The attempt to teach any language, including Latin, without appealing to the speaking and hearing faculties as the primary mechanism of language acquisition is, for the vast majority of students of any age, a waste of time and an exercise in frustration.

  19. Maria says:

    Nice clip Father,

    I was wondering if the chatty one is a girl and the sockless footed one is a boy.

    It is a known fact that girls develop language skills quicker than boys, and as for the missing sock?? When I do the washing, it is always my husbands socks that end up odd in the wash, not mine. He has 3 single socks in his drawer and mine are all paired up.

    Now how is that I wonder .

  20. soontobemrs says:

    As an identical twin myself, this conversation is about the missing sock in the freezer drawer and how funny that actually is. :-)

  21. irishgirl says:

    I’m a twin (fraternal), and this is so cute! It looks like one is very dominant, and the other is passive.
    Sounds like me and my twin sister. She’s the oldest by five minutes, and she always acted like she knew everything and left me in the dust!

  22. bookworm says:

    Years ago, back in the 70s, I remember reading an article in a medically-oriented magazine about “idioglossia” — the phenomenon of twins creating their own “secret” or peculiar language. Language researchers were studying twins with idioglossia even back then to get a better idea of how language development occurs in young children. I suspect that is what these twins are doing.

  23. Tina in Ashburn says:

    The sockless child is the only one that laughs – he gets the jokes I guess.

  24. jasoncpetty says:

    Someone please do one of those subtitled versions like the one for Der Untergang, the Hitler movie.

  25. My 2 year old watched the video and started imitating the babies. I think she understood what they were discussing and attempted to put in her two cents. I personally think they were trying to figure out how to get the ice cream carton out of the freezer and were arguing over who got the Bryers vs the cheap store-brand carton.

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