Merriam-Webster Dictionary recently added 850 words to their dictionary. I knew that I was a “wordie,” but now it is official and in the dictionary.
A few years ago, I heard Merriam-Wester lexicographer Kory Stamper speak at Chicago Ideas Week. She explained the process of how a word gets into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Even though I didn’t know the official name for a lexicographer was, I’ve always thought that the person who let words into the dictionary had a pretty important job because if it isn’t in the dictionary, then it can’t be played in Scrabble!
Parents often ask me about the words their infants and toddlers use ‘counts’ as a word. If your child says “ma,” does “ma” only refer to one thing like milk? If so, then “ma” would count as a word, even if it doesn’t necessarily sound like milk.
Does your child say “ma” for milk, mama, brother, and your pet dog? If so, then “ma” wouldn’t count as a word just yet.
A simple of rule of thumb I like to tell parents is that at age 1 a child should say one-word utterances – mama, dada, up. These might be words like “ma” for milk that don’t necessarily sound like words that we might recognize but are counted all the same.
At age 2, most children string together 2-word phrases like “mama up” or “more milk.”
At age 3, children typically put 3 words together like “more milk please.”
If you’re concerned about the number of words your child is or isn’t saying, then reach out to SpeechWorks at 262-490-5653 to see how we can help your child and family.