More and more words

Just a short post on how our language development is going. E. is 15,5 months old and about a few weeks ago I stopped counting how many English and Hungarian words she knows.
Now here are some random interesting features of her language knowledge:


  • she knows all the main colours (in both languages)
  • loves saying 3 (or more) -syllable words (aubergine, apricot, butterfly)
  • started to say combination of words (green peas, red rose, purple plum, yellow balloon)
  • she says what she really wants in both languages (more-még, drink-inni, bread-kenyér etc.)
  • her functional language is outstanding – she says thank you, Mommy – when she gives something back to me or when I give her something, here you are (not clearly though – it sounds like: heeyaa), please – when she asks for something, don’t like it – if she doesn’t want to eat something
  • sometimes she sounds like saying a sentence that she doesn’t do in Hungarian (it’s incomprehensible, though)
  • when she points at a spider she says: incywincy
  • potty time is mostly in English so she rather says poopy and peepee
  • prefers songs in English

    Favourite songs now:

  • loves to watch/sing/chant the English alphabet
  • E. likes certain books in English, though I “read” most books in both languages
  • Still, her favourite is Fran Manushkin: How Mamma Brought the Spring

    But she also takes pleasure in Great Day for Up! by Dr. Seuss and Goodnight, Spot by Eric Hill nowadays.


    • she is trying to say long words (more than 4 syllables) – palacsinta
    • prefers the countries in this language (her favoutite one to say is Svájc, and her favourite flag is the Belgian – because of the black in it -, though she cannot pronounce it clearly)
    • when she sees the Turkish flag she starts to chant: pont, pont vesszőcske, készen van a fejecske, kicsi nyaka, nagy a hasa, készen van a TÖRÖK basa – her utterence is 50% right, but the intonation is perfect
    • prefers rhymes in Hungarian (Boci, boci tarka, A török és a tehenek)
    • she says tetszik  if she likes something or someone (doesn’t say it in English)

    Some cute details:

    • her favourite animal is the penguin at the moment
    • out of nowhere she calls out her native nanny’s name
    • her favourite colour is black, though she says pink or purple
    • her favourite body part is her belly button (when she has a look at her own, she makes us show ours)
    • her favourite flower is carnation
    • she claps after pooping
    • she loves drawing (onto the parquet, at the playground, on sheets of paper, on the door – but not on the wall yet)
    • she pronounces Peppa Pig as if she were a little native British girl  🙂

    Changing from Hungarian to English and vica cersa

    Just a short post about how to sign that we are using one or the other language. At present I’m trying to use every time to talk in English to E. So for instance, when D. takes the dog out for 20-30 minutes in the morning or in the evening E. and I change into English.

    Before I start speaking English I sing the ‘Hello’ song. It is taken from the BBC programme called Something Special. (Jump to 0:20 for the song)

    Before we change into Hungarian, I sing the “Goodbye song” from the same programme. (You can find the video below – just jump to 13:20. This is where the “Goodbye song” starts. Otherwise it’s a great episode on birthdays. Worth watching the whole). I also use the MAKATON signs while I sing. E. takes pleasure in it and the songs make it clear when we use one language and the other.

    I’m sure there are several other ways to give a signal for changing between the languages. I look forward to your comments on how YOU do it.

    Our daily activites – mornings and changing table time

    When E. has woken up in the morning and I go into her room singing the following song while pulling up the blinds:

    Good morning, good morning, good morning to you
    Good morning Ms E…. cock-a-doodle-do
    Good morning, good morning, good morning to you
    Good morning Ms E…. cock-a-doodle-do
    Cock-a-doodle-do, cock-a-doodle-do
    Good morning to you.


    In the original song there’s Mr Rooster, but I changed it to Ms E.’.
    Even if D. goes in to her first he sings this song too. Though he continues talking to her in Hungarian.

    If E. wakes up late and D. has already gone to work we start the whole day in English. So, for instance, I change her nappy and night clothes while talking in English to her:

    • asking about what she dreamt (I always wait a little for her answer)
    • what the problem was during the night (if she was up)
    • tell her milk is on the way
    • while changing the nappy we have a rhyme that I always chant several times:

      Baby’s got a dirty nappy
      What shall we do? (What shall we do?)
      Clean it up, clean it up
      For Mommy and for you

      She likes it a lot and smiles, what’s more, stays on her back patiently instead of turning onto her tummy or standing up. The rhyme is from here. You can find other games you can play, songs or rhymes to chant while your baby is on the changing table.

    • we play peek-a-boo with her textile nappy (I cover her with the nappy then ask “Where’s E.? Where’s she gone?” then she takes the nappy off – or I do it) “I see you.” or “There you are.”. Another variation is I hide behind her feet and ask “Where’s Mommy?” or “Where’s Mommy gone?” Then I open her legs and say: “Here I am” or “Peek-a-boo”
    • there’s a shelf over our changing table and at the bottom of it I stuck up wooden, painted animals, so I name them, make the sounds they make, or sing a song about them. E.g.:

      Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
      your house is on fire, your children are gone
      All, but one her name is Ann,
      and she has crept under a frying pan.

      (I couldn’t find the tune online,but I’ll link it as soon as I do or please put it in a comment if you know where to find it)


      Five little ducks went swimming one day
      Over the pond and far away
      Mommy duck said: quack-quack-quack
      But only four little duck came back

      Four little ducks went swimming one day
      Over the pond and far away
      Mommy duck said: quack-quack-quack
      But only three little duck came back
      (on the changing table I usually start with 3 ducks and by the time I finish changing the nappy or clothes we’ll get to the end)

    • still on the changing table we play “This little pig went to market“. E. likes this most on her toes. I grab each of her toes on one foot one by one and wiggle them a bit as I say the rhyme.

      This little pig went to market;
      This little pig stayed at home;
      This little pig had roast beef;
      And this little pig had none;
      This little pig cried, “Wee, wee, wee!
       All the way home
      . (I tickle the bottom of her foot)

    • While I’m putting on her clothes I usually name her body parts and what clothes go where:
      “Here’s your left arm, it goes into this sleeve”
      “One foot goes into the tights, then the other foot goes into the tights” etc.
    • at the breakfast table we play with the coffee cup and the matching teapot. Both have four fruit on them and I name them; she loves the grapes and screams with joy when we get there. And of course, we can’t miss singing “I’m a little teapot” (4 or 5 times – in fact, this is MY favourite song)
    • E. didn’t use to like brushing or combing her hair, but when we sing along she enjoys it:

      This is the way we comb (or brush) our hair
      Comb our hair, comb our hair
      This is the way we comb (or brush) our hair
      Every day in the morning
      (I sing it twice as she expects me to comb my hair too)

    • she often watches me brushing my teeth while she is sitting in her high chair after breakfast. Then we brush her teeth (or rather she just plays with the toothbrush) and I sing “This is the way we brush our teeth” (same as the combing song, the tune has several verses – see an example here )
    • she sometimes watches me clear the breakfast table. I always tell her the name of the objects I put into the dishwasher, and I also tell her what I put into the fridge (the latter is more fun for her as I see because of the colourful things she can have a look at)
    • if E. is whiny in her high chair then I put her into her playpen where she plays alone. This is the time when she listens to her collection of music (compiled from youtube and added the Helen Doron songs). In the meantime I can do some housework.

    Yeah, I sing a lot and keep talking all the time. Sometimes by the afternoon I can hardly talk, am totally tired of speaking, not to mention singing. Thank Goodness for coffee. It always gives a little energy back.

    When we have our Hungarian sessions we do more or less the same. The morning routine is the same, the games are the same, only the songs are different. Sometimes I sing the combing/teeth brushing song or “I’m a little teapot” in English as I don’t know any good Hungarian versions of them.

      Singing and signing

      I promised a post on singing nursery rhymes together with MAKATON signing. So here it is.

      The MAKATON signs can be used while you sing the traditional nursery rhymes as the Signing Hands do. These two ladies sign while singing. Have a look at this song, which is the well-known ‘Ba Ba Black Sheep’ with signs.

      Easy to learn, right? Their songs, which are available on the net, give us the opportunity to learn more signs.

      Some more common songs with MAKATON signs:
      The Wheels On The Bus
      Row row row your boat
      Old MacDonald Had a Farm
      We wish you a merry Christmas Little Peter Rabbit
      Something Special, the BBC series, also includes some songs like the Rainbow Song. On the link you can find Mr Tumble singing and signing it.

      After you have learnt a lot of signs, you can use them with other songs or rhymes.
      Within 1-2 months you can learn 50-70 signs without an effort. Of course, it doesn’t mean you HAVE TO use all of them. You’ll see what the two (three) of you really need.

      How we did it when E. was 6-8 months old:

      When she couldn’t sit properly, but could only crawl, she got tired easily and became grouchy. This was the time when I made her lie on her back looking at me. Then I sang the songs and a signed along. She smiled and even laughed out loudly. She could enjoy it even for 15-20 minutes. This was enough for her to be refreshed and we could play again, or have her food etc.

      Now, when she’s 11 months old it’s changed a little:

      E. can stand and cruise (tiptoe along some furniture) so it’s very difficult to keep her in one place. I don’t bother to make her lie down any more. When we play and she sits for a while I sing two or three songs followed with the signs. No more because she moves on quickly and doesn’t really care any longer. But she is screaming and/or flapping her hands with joy during the songs. We do the short singing/signing sessions twice or three times a day.

      (Have you noticed how easy to misspell or misread the two words singing and signing? 🙂