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<p>DD is almost 16 months and has around 45-50 words. Some of them she has recently begun using incorrectly. I will show her a picture of a rabbit and she will call it a cat. What's strange is that prior to say about 2 weeks ago she would not do this. Its not that the photo I am showing her is unclear or even new to her. If I ask again, "What's that?" she will usually say the correct word.</p>
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<p>Does anyone have any ideas why she is doing this? Have you experienced this with your own DC?  I tend to worry about everything regarding her development and this is just one more thing.  TIA for your input.</p>
 

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<p>it sounds like she's experimenting with categories to see if they overlap. under and over-generalization are normal at this stage.</p>
 

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<p>I read somewhere that that is developmentally appropriate.  My daughter often signs "apple" for anything fruit (including bananas which look nothing like apples... I thought it was awesome that they were somehow the same to her), and was saying "meow"/"kitty"for most animals up until a few weeks ago.  She's almost 18 months and talks one and two work statements a bit and makes up her own signs sometimes.  So it sounds normal to me.</p>
 

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<p>That's a very normal part of cognitive development.  Right now my twins call all fruit either "apple" or "orange" or "banana."  They can say plum, pear, lemon, etc, but always return to these root concepts. They are just learning about categorization.</p>
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<p>Piaget wrote about it, here's a quote I found that explains his theory:</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
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<div> Schemas are continually being modified by two <a class="alnk" href="http://www.answers.com/topic/complementary" target="_blank"><span style="color:#0066CC;">complementary</span></a> processes that Piaget termed <a class="alnk" href="http://www.answers.com/topic/assimilation" target="_blank"><span style="color:#0066CC;">assimilation</span></a> and accommodation. Assimilation refers to the process of taking in new information by incorporating it into an existing schema. In other words, people <a class="alnk" href="http://www.answers.com/topic/assimilate" target="_blank"><span style="color:#0066CC;">assimilate</span></a> new experiences by relating them to things they already know. On the other hand, accommodation is what happens when the schema itself changes to accommodate new knowledge. According to Piaget, cognitive development involves an ongoing attempt to achieve a balance between assimilation and accommodation that he termed <a class="alnk" href="http://www.answers.com/topic/equilibrate" target="_blank"><span style="color:#0066CC;">equilibration</span></a>.</div>
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<div>(from <a href="http://www.answers.com/topic/cognitive-development" target="_blank">http://www.answers.com/topic/cognitive-development</a>)</div>
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<p>That means your daughter has a strong association of "cat" meaning "cute, small, fuzzy four-legged animal."  All animals that fit that description are <em>assimilated</em> into this meaning of "cat."  So rabbits, squirrels, foxes, etc, may all be called "cat."   As she refines her definition of cat to be more specific, then she will start saying "rabbit" and "squirrel" etc more consistently.   But first she has to lear how to <em>accomodate</em> her definition of cat. </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Marissamom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282819/using-words-incorrectly#post_16084941"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>it sounds like she's experimenting with categories to see if they overlap. under and over-generalization are normal at this stage.</p>
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<br><br><p><span><img alt="yeahthat.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/yeahthat.gif"> DS is 21mos & has a huge vocabulary (thousands of words & lots of ~6 word sentences) but he still calls things by the wrong names sometimes (calling a rabbit a mouse, for ex., or a zebra a horse) even though in the past he was very consistent about using the right words. I think it's that the more words he knows, the more he needs to refine how he uses each one, so he tests them out in different situations to see which one fits best. Also if you think about it, she may have seen over 100 different images of a rabbit, some photographic & others highly stylized/cartoonish, so it really could be hard to tell whether THIS rabbit is a really a cat until she starts to really understand ALL the subtle differences between the two.</span></p>
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<p><span>There is a song on youtube -- The Elephant Song -- it's kind of annoying but DS loves it, we sing a modified version of it & DS loves thinking of the animals & then using the wrong animal sound & then coming up with the right animal to go with the wrong sound.</span> (OK that probably made no sense but if you listen to the original song it might make more sense lol!) So she might enjoy something like that where she can test out different words. Not that you have to do anything special since it's a normal stage anyway but she might have fun with it!</p>
 
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