My want more cheerios

CJ hasn’t learned the word “I” yet — rather, he’s learned that there’s such a thing as the 1st person singular personal pronoun, but he thinks it is “my.” Thus, “my want more cheerios,” “my have shirt on,” etc. Has anyone else ever heard of this substitution?

I do have a theory. I wonder if he could be hearing from our speech that “your” and “my” are symmetrical (i.e. if I say “Your shirt is dirty,” he would correctly say “My shirt is dirty”) and overgeneralizing to the belief that “you’re” and “my” are symmetrical (i.e. if I say “You’re having breakfast,” he would say “My having breakfast.”) Also, I don’t think we actually say “I” that much when we’re talking to him — for some reason we’re much more apt to say “Daddy’s going to change your diaper,” or “Mommy’s eating cereal” or whatever. We certainly do say “I” when we’re talking to each other, though. Do kids learn primarily from language directed at them or do they draw just as much from ambient conversation?

One thought on “My want more cheerios

  1. M. Gemmill says:

    In my experience, personal pronouns came late-ish to the language development process. However, I do think that demonstrating proper usage makes a big difference–they really listen and imitate (for good and for ill). So it may be time to drop the third person and start using pronouns.

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