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Baby Talk
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Jan 2, 2002, 13:19

You have probably heard some eighteen month old ankle biter say something like this: "Habba nooba seepie woonbe noo za beast?" And you instinctively know that this means, "If I donít get to watch Beauty and the Beast right now, Iím gong to start slinging baby food!"

Perhaps you have noticed that some toddlers are extremely talkative, but more often than not, are totally incomprehensible. It seems as if in many situations children will invent words that have meaning to the child but no meaning to the undiapered population. In the case of the earlier quote, it has a real name that describes it. It is known as jargon babbling.

The child is making sounds but not actually conveying words. The little critter wants to make conversation but either has nothing to say, or more likely, doesnít know how to say very much. So the child mimics human sounds, including conversational sounds.

Actually research leads us to believe that little children presume that the adults around them are babbling meaninglessly. The child is still too young to realize that speech has content. Jacqueline Sachs, a psychologist at the University of Connecticut, that the "child is in the developmental stages of learning what people do with sounds." She goes on the explain, "There might be a long string of babble syllables that ends with a nice complete sounding syllable. If you were listening across the room you might think that this little baby is already talking. When you listen closer you discover they arenít words at all." The strange thing is we know plenty of adults who do jargon babbling. They are called "experts."

Believe it or not, people outside the church listen to what church people say and it sounds like gibberish as well. I guess we could call it spiritual babbling. "Iíve been justified, sanctified, redeemed and I am comfortable fellowshipping with premillenial dispensationalists who have a good eschatological perspective of the consecration, glorification, justification and condemnation that we all understand as believers."

If that sounded confusing, good. It was suppose to. If you understood it, then my prayers are with you. I know people who try so hard to get others to believe they are "ultra spiritual." They try to sound like an authority on everything and spiritual matters are no exception. The people around them roll their eyes, smile nicely and then try as quickly as they can to get away from them.

Two lessons to remember. Donít be something you are not. Donít try to fool folks by sounding knowledgeable (because they really wonít buy it). Next, remember to speak in ways that will help people really understand the love of Christ and what it means to them. It does make a difference in how you say it. Think about it.

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