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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Problems with names|
|Question:||My three year old is having a very hard time learning his colors. refuses to learn his colors. I will ask and he'll tell me, ''you tell me'' or ''don't talk to me about that''. He can't be dumb or color blind, because he quite perfectly associates the color purple as the grape flavor, and brown as chocolate. I tried to create a game, where I crumpled up balls of paper of different colors and threw them across the room. Since he likes to pretend he's a dog, we took turns fetching. I would say what color ball to fetch, but it seemed kind of hit or miss to me. He lost interest in the game a lot faster than other games I've made up. For a while, I thought he knew his colors, and was just messing with me, but I think he really doesn't know his colors. He also hasn't learned the names of his cousins, of whom he sees biweekly. It seems to me to be a related problem. Beyond that though, he seems to be doing ok. He counts to ten in both languages (Spanish is the other language) and I have noticed that recently he has been improving his grammar in both languages (the objective pronouns in particular). But I am wondering if maybe he has set up a wierd schemata for naming things, and learning colors and people's names is hard for him. I have also noticed that if I ask him to give a name to something, like a lizard we caught, he will name them after to of the kids he plays the most with. When we talk about school, he always talks about Christian, but sometimes I wonder if he means another kid in his class. He never mentions other kids' names, but will recognize their name if I say it. What do you think?|
|Reply:||Many children are still uncertain about colour terms, even at the age of 6. Most children learn somewhere aged 3-5 years. So there is certainly no need to be anxious about this. He is probably just not ready to learn yet. You might be interested in an article on this in Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-johnny-name-colors&page=2 You seem to be wanting to hasten your child's language development. He's only 3 and still learning. Children develop languages at different rates and concentrate on different things from other children. Nothing you say about his development sounds unusual to me, but if you are anxious, you should talk to your family doctor. I expect you will get reassurance. I rather like the "you tell me" and "don't talk to me about that." It suggests an awareness that you are interrogating him, (which he doesn't like) and that you are asking silly questions (ones you know the answer to already)! Anthea|
|Reply From:||Anthea Fraser Gupta click here to access email|