All children’s names have been changed.
Example, anonymous, from the notes of a mother
First 2-word sentence – 1;6 years
First 3-word sentence – 1;8 years
First 4-word sentence – 1;8 years
First 5-word sentence – 1;11 years
We want to go to the swimming pool. „Iris, ask Dad where the swimming noodle is.“ She does. Her dad answers. Her dad answers: „That’s a good question …“ Iris: „Papa doesn’t know where it is either.“ She understood that he doesn’t know either. (3;5 years.)
Iris explains something to me: „And in fact I put the bag under the table.“ – „and in fact“ is new. (3;10 years.)
We are discussing a small figure. I think it’s a dog. Iris: „I would say it’s a horse.“ (3;10 years.)
She uses first foreign words: We play „Da ist der Wurm drin“ (The worm is in there). Iris explains the rules of the game to her father. „Dad, if someone theoretically rolls orange dice and there is no more, then you can choose a part. And then, of course, you take red. (Red is the longest part and you get the fastest forward with it.) (4;3 years.)
Date of publication in German: May 2021
Example by Sylvie Eikenbusch, Düsseldorf
Merit (3 years and 3 days of age) is approaching me and wants to tell or write a story. I’m sitting in front of my PC and I’m very happy she comes to me for this. I ask her whether she wants to tell me the story. “No, I want to write it”, she says, “but I can’t write, yet.”
I suggest: “You can tell me your story and I will write it for you. Would that be OK?” She nods and climbs on my lap. „Should I take pen and paper for it?“, I ask. “No, you write it on the computer”, she answers.
Merit begins to dictate and asks me again and again to read out what I have written. She is very focused.
And this is the story:
„Once upon a time there was a lion hunt. There is this lion and it’s eating us! We had better run away before the lion came. And an old grandpa comes to rescue us. He puts himself in the way. The old grandpa’s name is Grandpa John (name changed). Grandpa John gets eaten, too. That’s why Lamp-Grandpa has to come, he turns the lantern on. He gets eaten, too. And now another Grandpa has to come, this is Grandma’s Grandpa, and then he has to rescue us right away.
He’s managed to rescue us and we’re doing fine again. Now we’re going to the kindergarten real quick, open the door, sneak in and play. We’ve got a lot of children to play with in the group.
And now I want to talk about you: When you have your day off, Ms Eikenbusch, you go to …’s birthday party … and Happy Birthday! And now the story is over.”
Date of publication in German: May 12 th , 2010
Example Ella, Observation in the Family, anonymous
We thank the author for the right to publish this.
At the supper table as I’m taking another peace of sausage: „You too?”
As I’m trying to find her tea bottle: “The bottle is over there.”
We’re driving a nail into the wall. Ella: “Me hammer, too. Ella’s hammer.” Then she corrects herself: “Ella’s mom’s hammer.”
She uses „today“ and „tomorrow“ correctly.
She talks to the ducks:
“Go on! Eat! Snap! Yumm, tas’s good. You eat too. Come, there’s b‘ead. Ducks bicke’ing. ‘nother piece. Give ‘nother piece, mom. Ella tro‘ in.“
Her pacifier has fallen behind the bed. “Mom … broom … get out.”
„I have two pacies (pacifiers). This one not tas’s. I can’t put it in mouth. Is dirty, is hair. I must clean.”
Ella talks a lot now. She often uses the Present Perfect, occasionally even the will-Future. She uses adverbs in a meaningful way as for example “finally” and “actually”.
She connects temporal subordinate clauses correctly with the corresponding main clause as in: „When I was at Grandma‘s, I …”
She almost always uses the correct inflections of personal pronouns, possessive determiners and reflexive pronouns. She uses the prepositions “of/from” and “for” correctly.
She frequently asks „where“-questions.
She utters her wishes in the first person: „I’d rather …“, „I don’t like that”.
She makes aesthetic judgements:
„That’s cute, the cake has a hole in the middle.“
Date of publication in German May 12 th , 2010
Example by Isabel Bonifert-Manig, Bonn
Emmy (5;10) (name changed) amazed me quite early on with her verbal skills.
I once asked her where she had got the colourful crochet dolls, and she answered (exact quote):
“My father was abroad on business some time ago, in other words quite far away, by plane, some place in South America. And he, being the very best and most endearing father, brought them back for me.”
I continued to ask in which country he had been. Emmy: “In Bolivia, in Argentine, in, in … sorry, I don’t remember it any more. The women sit in the streets and they’re knitting or rather lace-making, and sewing these dolls, and they put them into these small colourful rag pouches. I would love to see that for myself some time.”
In the English class at kindergarten [this is the report of a German child] Emmy can immediately and correctly repeat sentences spoken to her, for example: „Do you want some cornflakes? – Yes please.“ She memorizes newly learned words and pronounces them perfectly. A lot of these new words (several sorts of vegetables and fruits) she memorizes in the correct singular and plural forms, she pronounces them correctly and knows their meaning.
I’m asking her whether she lives in an apartment or in a separate house and who else belongs to her family.
Emmy: “I live in a semidetached house with my parents and my 3-years-old sister. We live right next to Anna’s family. Anna has a small brother, he’s still a real baby – I believe he’s 9 months old.”
Date of publication in German October 30 th, 2008
Translated by Arno Zucknick
Copyright © Hanna Vock 2008, see Imprint.