Via Neatorama, this unnamed baby is my Hoyden of the week. Because she has something to SAY, and she’s not going to let anything so trivial as not having developed expressive vocabulary stop from her saying it.
[If you click through, avoid the Youtube comments, as always. Blah blah shrieking harridan blah blah don’t envy her future husband blah.]
Description: A transcript is difficult, but this is a baby in a carseat, presumptively a girl because of all the pink. She is accompanied by a man (in frame) and a woman (out of frame). The baby is fluently jargoning in a forceful way and at length. The man tries to distract her with a “Hot Potato” song and hand game several times.
The ‘jargon’ phase of spoken language development typically happens after vocal babbling, when a child knows just a few single words. They learn the emotionally expressive prosody (pitch, rhythm, intonation contour, and stress) of their first language(s) before they develop larger vocabulary or syntax, and they practise this by doing what you see here – fluent expressive polysyllabic jargon. It usually peaks somewhere in the early to middle part of the second year, after variegated babbling, but language development is quite variable. Some babies don’t experience quite such a pronounced jargon phase as this one.
Manual babbling has been reported in babies of signing adults. This post to the Linguist-List says that signing babies also go through a manual jargon phase. Read more about signed language development in this book: Language, Cognition, and the Brain by Karen Emmorey, starting at page 170.
I’ve also noticed that outlines of language development phases often ignore the jargon phase completely, perhaps because it coincides with first-word acquisition and the holophrastic use of words. People talking about child development (and perhaps this is a reflection of societal focus?) have typically concentrated on concrete vocabulary and words they can readily record and count, rather than on the prosodic development that reflects emotional expression and perhaps learning about the interpersonal pragmatics of speech. Thoughts?