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Two-Year-Old Dialogue

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Hi,

I was wondering about writing dialogue for a character who is two years old. Is it OK to use language that would be developmentally appropriate for this age (incomplete sentences)? For example, right now my character says “I do ballet!” instead of something like “Mom, I want to take a ballet class.”

Thanks for any feedback!
Lisa
#1 - January 16, 2015, 08:37 AM
Lisa Katzenberger
@FictionCity
www.lisakatzenberger.com

I think it is very ok to use developmentally appropriate language. As with any "dialect", it's the sort of thing that can get clunky if it's not well done. But when it's well done, it's adorable. (I think.) And "I do ballet!" sounds like a good story in itself. :)
#2 - January 16, 2015, 09:53 AM

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Yes, two-year olds should sound like two-year olds. It's jarring when they don't. "I do it!" is classic two-year old speech. :)
On the other hand, too much child speech runs the risk of being painfully "adorable." In general, kids aren't looking to connect with "adorable" characters (although they do like cute animals).
#3 - January 16, 2015, 10:12 AM
Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD
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Hi,

I was wondering about writing dialogue for a character who is two years old. Is it OK to use language that would be developmentally appropriate for this age (incomplete sentences)? For example, right now my character says “I do ballet!” instead of something like “Mom, I want to take a ballet class.”

Thanks for any feedback!
Lisa
I don't know anything about 2-year olds but how about "I want ballet"? And this could be emphasized by the 2-year old walking (or strolling?) with her or his parent next to a dance studio with a window showing dancers?

If, say, your books is about a toddler who wants to do ballet then right away the reader can tell what your main character wants.
#4 - January 17, 2015, 12:58 PM

My kids (ages 3 and 1) love when I do voices when reading and I'm sure they would love me doing a toddler voice.  Having toddler dialogue makes it easier to do a toddler voice.  I vote keep it appropriate for a two year old!
#5 - January 29, 2015, 08:08 AM

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