‘A’ – prefix, article, random sound?

We are getting more and more chatter by the day now.  Most of it is random, meaningless (at least to us it is) sounds.  One thing we have noticed, though, is the use of ‘a’ before words.  Instead of just saying ‘mamãe’ for ‘mommy’ he seems to often say ‘a mamãe’.  He will often also say ‘a daddy’ and ‘a ball’.  The same is true for his made up word for car ‘a buda’.

The pronunciation of this sound is rather like the schwa  and so can sometimes seem to disappear if you aren’t listening for it.

There has been a bit of discussion about what this sound represents.  One theory is that it is an article: both English and Portuguese use ‘a’ as an article, in English it is the indefinite article and in Portuguese it is a definite article for feminine words.  Personally I don’t think he would have noticed this usage yet, especially as in both loamguages the ‘a’ is so weak that I don’t think he would have noticed it being used as an article.

Another theory is that he is using it as a prefix.  Quite what the prefix might be for, though, is anybody’s guess.

The finaly theory we have come up with, and my personal favourite, is that he likes to have some sort of vowel sound to start a word or utterance.  It might be that he finds it strange to start with a consonant and so use the ‘a’ or schwa sound before using a consonant.

The thing is, we are never going to know why he is really using this sound, but it makes for a good argument.

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