Brouhaha is one of those words that must have originated from babies. For months now, my Kung Fu Panda has been trying out sounds. He started with "eh," which was his word for everything. Then, he tried out "G" sounds, combining them with a couple simple vowel sounds to achieve "ah-goo." Yes, babies really do say "ah-goo." Frequently. Like "eh," it was a go-to word that meant just about anything.
Over the last couple of months, KFP has gradually expanded his sounds, experimenting next with "B," "M" and "W" sounds to create a new multipurpose word, "Ah-bu-wuh." I'll never forget the day he was happily babbling "ah-bu-wuh" in his bouncer and then, minutes later, on the changing table, was twisting his body away from me as I fought to put on a new diaper. He grabbed the edge of the changing table and wailed, "ah-bu-wuh"! One word meant not just "I am happy" but also "I am upset."
At the time, I thought that must be how the word "aloha" was invented, one of the true multipurpose words, meaning "hello" and "goodbye." It also, coincidentally, is composed of sounds that a six-month-old can utter. I know this because KFP is expanding his sounds. Lately, I've heard him using "H," "K," and "N" sounds, and this morning, he experimented with "L" sounds.
Like anything else he does, he flounders and experiments before achieving what seems a major breakthrough. We've heard him calling "mama" when he cries now, and he once looked right at his daddy, The Gryphon, and uttered, "Mama!" Well, he was almost right. More interestingly, he once used the sign for "daddy" while looking at The Gryphon, but he has yet to repeat it. (On the advice of several friends, we've been teaching him some useful signs like "eat," "sleep," "more," "milk," "mommy" and "daddy" so that he can communicate more easily before his verbal skills coalesce).
He has begun using "N" sounds in the negative, so that if you are trying to put his winter coat on him and he objects, he'll repeat "nuh, neh, nah" as if to say, "No, no, no!" Just wait until he gets the "oh" sound down. I'm sure we'll be hearing "no" a lot.
The other day, he looked right at our kitty, Luke, who has become his best friend now that our doggie, Una, died more than a month ago. Luke likes to hang around near him and even allows KFP to pet him on occasion. This particular day, KFP looked at Luke and, in a raspy baby voice filled with a blissful air of revelation, he said what sounded like "kitty kitty" without the "T" sounds. We were all surprised, and I believe that Luke was secretly pleased that he might be responsible for KFP's first word.
But I digress. "Brouhaha" is clearly a word invented by babies. Not only does it sound like something a baby would say, but it means something a baby might do. As anyone knows who knows a baby, they love a good brouhaha in the morning. Heck, a brouhaha in the evening, too, if they feel up to it.
Similarly, babies love a little hubbub and almost certainly also invented that word. They are likely responsible, as well, for rat-a-tat-tat and ballyhoo.
It's a little known fact that babies invented the Dada art movement, but everyone knows they are the inspiration for Lady Gaga. Babies long for the day when they will drink cocoa, and if they could, they would order Hohos at Hojo's.
Who's their fave Beatle? Macca, of course. They listen to him while go-go dancing and eating goop.
I could go on, but my budding linguist has now awoken from his nap and is creeping around, uttering "ah-na-mmm!" and "ahhhh-yah!" And so the discovery continues.
Learning to talk is an evolving process.