When I was studying to become a speech-language pathologist, I learned a big, intellectual word (well, LOTS of them, but this one actually stuck with me): Metalinguistics. It's a musical-sounding, fancy way to say "analyzing the components of language" (which is all very fascinating until you have to start transcribing language samples using the phonetic alphabet, and counting each use of articles/nouns/ing-verbs, etc. After that, not so much.) Now, I freely admit to being a lifelong, certified, card-carrying Word Nerd who reads voraciously and does crossword puzzles for fun and relaxation...but occasionally I wonder how I sound to other people.
When I hear my children talk, I sometimes get small clues that they're taking after their mother already...like when 6-year old Riley told me that the reason he scraped his hand was that he and our neighbor (who outweighs him by 70 pounds. I'm not kidding) had collided. Not "bumped into each other", mind you. Later he was griping about Derek, "He shouldn't antagonize me!"
Meanwhile Derek was telling me a story about how he and Riley and my husband had taken a short walk and unwittingly found the house of a baseball teammate of Derek's. "He lives so close that we wouldn't even have to drive to get there...unless we were feeling exceptionally lazy that day!" (I actually started to inform him that 9-year olds just do not speak that way...but I managed to hold my tongue.)
So what can we infer from these examples?
1. It's never too early to join the Junior Word Nerds (although maybe for the younger set we need a cooler name: Word Warriors? Vocabulary Villains? Dictionary Dudes?) and
2. (borrowing from a good friend of mine) "they should put down the book, and go watch some Spongebob or something!"