In addition to the Little Kids’ Word List, we’ve also made games for children to play that will help us learn about how these children say and hear the sounds in their languages! There are two games, which we’ll explain here now.
In the picture naming game, children are asked to help a little girl find her lost dog. In order to help get the girl closer to the dog, children see a picture of a thing or an action and hear the word. Then the children repeat the name of the picture that they just heard. Every time they say a word, the girl gets closer to finding her dog! We use the recordings of the children saying these words to learn how children say the sounds in the words at different ages.
In the listening game, children meet a child who is learning to speak their language. Since the child is still learning, sometimes she says words right and sometimes says words a little funny. Every time she says a word, the children are asked whether she said the word right or if she said the word funny. Using this game, we learn how children hear the differences between the sounds in their languages.
Children can play these two games in English, Eastern and Central Arrernte, and Western Arrarnta, depending on which languages they hear at home. We’ve tried these games out with a few children from 4 to 11 years old. Children like the picture naming game, and they enjoy helping the girl find her lost dog. However, sometimes they have trouble playing the listening game and understanding exactly what they’re meant to do. We’re currently working on changing the listening game to make it easier for children to understand and play.