Friday, February 29, 2008

Baby Storytelling

I've noticed on YouTube, if you do a search on "storyteller," you get a host of precious thirty second to two minute home videos of toddlers babbling.

(Actually, you first get a lot of pirated clips from Jim Henson's The Storyteller series, but that's a post for another day)

So. The home movies. The chatty babies. Their doting parents and grandparents immediately tag or title the clip "storyteller."

It took me ages to figure out why.

I think it's because they are capturing their child caught up in the joy of language, the sound of language, the music of it. For the first time, they see their child not demanding food, or sleep, or a beloved object out of reach. Suddenly they see that their child is doing something with language beyond expressing direct needs.

Interesting that they call this "storytelling," and not "poetry" or "echolalia" or "mouth music." I don't believe for a moment that a one-year old is trying to express a narrative by this babbling, as extensive as it is. They're not telling a story.

But it's fascinating that the default assumption of parents is that their wee bairn has stepped up her language skills, and that this next step they call "storytelling."

1 comment:

Sean said...

Rather on target, this one.