Babytalks: And he became a beybo gwegwe

My daughter can now recite “the very hungry caterpillar” from memory. Which is great because it gives me a direct one-to-one comparison for her utterances. Here’s one of the more bizarre.

Instead of saying “beautiful butterfly” (the last two words of the book), she says something like “beybo gwewe” here’s my attempt to explain why.When she hears words from me, my daughter gets intervocalic dental stops turned into taps. For free!

ˈbjuːɾɪfəɫ ˈbʌɾɚflaɪ

First she simplifies əɫ and ɚ to o. (I think this is a common rule in American baby talk)

ˈbjuːɾɪfo ˈbʌɾoflaɪ

Then taps become approximants and non-coda fricatives become stops.

ˈbjuːlɪpo ˈbʌloplaɪ

Intervocalic stops are vocalized

ˈbjuːlɪbo ˈbʌloblaɪ

Approximants become glides: j when preceding front vowels and w when back (thanks @tropylium​ ) (this is something like Bulgarian baby talk, where r > l > j > i)

ˈbjuːjɪbo ˈbʌwobwaɪ

I’m not sure about this next part, but I think vowels converge somehow…

ˈbeːjɪbo ˈbəwebwəɪ

I’m not sure why, but in some B’s become G’s

ˈbeːjɪbo ˈgəwegwəɪ (I’ve sometimes really heard her say this)

And often the vowels continue to fuse and converge

ˈbeɪbo ˈgwegweɪ

At least, that’s what I THINK is happening. Any other ideas?

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