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Baby's First Words

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A baby says their first word/s.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
kazokuhouou on Oct 3rd 2012 at 12:38:19 PM
Last Edited By:
Unicorndance on Jun 11th 2018 at 5:41:41 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

Up for Grabs

Jenny: "Anyway, Simon and I have this little bet on what her first word will be. Simon thinks it will be 'Dad'. But I know it's going to be 'Mum'. Isn't it, Molly? Mum, mum, mum."
—-Dirty Bertie, "Bum!"

Unless somebody is mute, there comes a time when everybody says their first word. Sometimes, this is as young as six months, other times it's as old as two, and sometimes even older in people with certain disabilities and (in some, but by no means all cases) with autistic people. But anyway, this trope covers a baby saying their first word in fiction.

Sometimes, the whole plot is about the family trying to get the baby to talk, other times it only takes one scene, and other times, a Flash Back to a character being a baby and saying their first word happens.

When Played for Laughs, common gags include the baby not talking until the parents give up and then they say their first word, the baby's first word being a ridiculously big word for a baby, the first word having to do with something they really like (for example, a Big Eater having "dinner" as their first word), the first word being rude (for example, a swear word, an insult, or a minorly impolite word such as "poop"), the baby's first word stemming from them copying another character's Catch-Phrase, and the baby becoming 100% verbal after saying their first word.

Commonly, the people will be trying to get the baby to say their name or their position in the family (for example the mother trying to get the baby to say "mommy"), and this may lead to arguments between the parents over whether the baby's first word will be "mommy" or "daddy".

If the baby does say "mommy", "daddy" or a person's name as their first word, it might lead to an emotional (as in making you cry happy tears) moment.

If somebody could talk all along but they never do up until now, that's Suddenly Voiced. If they become verbal extremely fast, it's a good bet they're a Brainy Baby.


Examples

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     Anime and Manga 
  • Shokugeki no Soma: Erina Nakiri's first words were "Not enough depth of flavor" about her mother's breast milk when she was just three months old and developing a heightened sense of taste.

     Comic Books 
  • In one comic book involving a family of badgers and a family of foxes living together, one of the badger brothers accuses the other of cheating and they start yelling, "Did not!" and "Did too!" at one another, prompting their little sister Berry to say her first words ("did too").
  • VIz: In the strip "The Modern Parents", Malcolm and Cressida want their child Guinivere's first word to be "dolphin", but Guinivere's big brother Tarquin teaches the baby to say "football" instead.

     Fan Works 
  • In Dory's Babyhood Days, the chapter "Talking" has Dory from Finding Nemo say her first words "Dada", then "Mama".
  • In Nier: Automata (RE)Birth, Alexander's first word was "jackass". He was actually saying the name of a character whose name was Jackass, but A2 has a pretty negative reaction about teaching his adopted son a swear word.
  • In The Second Try, chapter eight features Asuka trying to teach her daughter to say her first words. When the girl says "Mama", the mom tries to get her to say "Papa", but she says "Baga" instead.
  • Tommy Pickles Vs The Terrible Twos: "Tommy's First Word" focuses on Tommy saying his first word to the grownups ("Reptar").

     Film - Animated 

     Film - Live Action 
  • The title character from Baby Driver is called such because of his quiet nature. Doc says they're waiting for him to say his first words.
  • Meet the Fockers: Greg's in-laws try to make their son Jack an Adorably Precocious Child before he's out of diapers but his first word becomes "asshole" after hearing Greg say it.

     Jokes 
  • One joke involves parents having this conversation about a baby's milestones:
    Mother: "Darling, today our son got his first tooth."
    Father: "Excellent!"
    Mother: "And he made his first step."
    Father: "Great!"
    Mother: "But upon making that first step, he fell down and lost his first tooth."
    Father: "Ouch, that's bad!"
    Mother: "But upon losing his first tooth, he said his first word."
    Father: "Marvelous!"
    Mother: "But if you only knew what it was..."

     Literature 
  • In the Dirty Bertie story "Bum!", Bertie's mother's friends Simon and Jenny are trying to teach their 14-month-old daughter to talk. When Bertie shouts, "Bum!" as an exclamation, she copies him and that's her first word but because it's sort of rude, Bertie tries to keep her from saying it again.
  • In the Fudge book "Superfudge", Peter is changing his sister Tamara "Tootsie" Roxanne's diaper and says, "Yuck", prompting her to say, "Yuck" back.
  • In Harriet the Spy, Harriet thinks her first word was "Proceed" but then finds out it was actually "cookie".
  • In the children's book Knuffle Bunny (the "K" is pronounced), a little girl Trixie says "Knuffle Bunny" as her first words after losing her toy bunny at the laundromat.
  • There was a Sesame Street book published in 1994 called Me Cookie!, which featured a baby Cookie Monster named "Baby Monster". Early on in the book, he struggles to say the word "Cookie".
  • In the Paul Jennings story "Smart Ice Cream", the main character says that his first words were a sentence, on the first day of his life: "Hey, cut it out, Mom, that tickles," however, he was probably mistaken or lying.
  • In the children's book Your Baby's First Word Will be 'Dada', some animal dads try to get their babies to say, "dada" but their first words end up being animal noises (such as "meow").

     Live Action TV 
  • The Benny Hill Show: In a long segment parodying The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman where they get together and have a son, called The Bionic Baby:
    Steve: He's four years old, it's time he learned to talk.
    Jamie: He does love his chicken soup though.
    Steve: Here, let me give it to him to the baby Hi there little fella, gonna have some of papa's chickie soupie doopie.
    Steve feeds some soup to the baby, who spits it out
    Baby: Phew, man. Wow. Sheep dip. You call that chicken soup?
    Jamie: He can talk! Hey Steve, he can talk.
    Baby: mocking "He can talk, he can talk!" Big....deal.
    Jamie: But why did you wait 'til now to talk? Why didn't you talk before?
    Baby: 'Cause up until now, the chicken soup's been OK.
  • Breaking Bad: Holly's first words are calling for her mother. This is heartbreaking because it happens after her father, Walt has kidnapped her after his secrets have been exposed and he's about to go on the run. Purportedly, this was the baby actress calling for her real mother off camera but Bryan Cranston took advantage of the opportunity and kept in-character.
  • Castle mentions that Alexis' first word was "denouement" since he stressed story structure at an early age.
  • In Drake & Josh, the brothers are babysitting for their father's boss. The baby doesn't actually say his first words, but the brothers end up losing him on the roof and when Drake is on the phone with the baby's mother, he says "Mama" in a baby voice, which makes the mother think the baby said his first word. Later, she tries to make him say it again but it doesn't work.
  • In Friends, Rachel gets excited by Emma saying her first word, "gleba". At first, Ross doesn't think it's a real word, but then Rachel looks it up in the dictionary and finds out that it means "fleshy, spore-bearing inner mass of certain fungi" and he thinks it means she will grow up to be a scientist.
  • Jane the Virgin: Mateo says his first word ("dada") in one episode. This leads to minor drama between former romantic rivals Rafael (his biological father) and Michael (his stepfather), since he says it to Michael instead of Rafael.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Breaking the Chain", John and Sarah Barnaby spend the episode trying to get their infant daughter Betty to say her first word: either "Dada" (what John wants) or "Mama" (what Sarah wants). Eventually, it's "dog".
  • In Scrubs, Doctor Cox's son Jack's first complete sentence is "Daddy drinks a lot" in response to Jordan making the Drinky-Drinky motion about Dr Cox's inebriated current state.
  • Sesame Street: In one episode, Snuffy tries to teach Natasha her first words, but due to his negativity when she doesn't say them (even though some of the words are things like "refrigerator"), her first words end up being, "Oh, dear".

     Web Original 
  • this article lists some parents talking about their babies' unusual first words. note 

     Western Animation 
  • Arthur: Zigzagged with Arthur and D.W.'s little sister Kate. Sometimes, they think she said her first word but she was only babbling. Other times, she says actual words but they don't remember if they're her first.
  • In the Martha Speaks episode "Martha the Hero Maker", Helen's little brother Jake says his first word "door" which helps out Helen and some of the other characters who were locked behind a door.
  • At the end of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Baby Cakes", Pound Cake says his first word (Pinkie) and then his twin sister Pumpkin Cake says her first word ("pie"), because Pinkie Pie had been babysitting them.
  • Apparently, in Peppa Pig, Peppa's first word was "Mummy" and George's was "dinosaur" because he's always been interested in dinosaurs. We get to see Peppa and George's little cousin Alexander say his word too. It's "puddles" because everyone in the Peppa Pig universe enjoys jumping in muddy puddles.
  • Pinky and the Brain: The episode "Brinky" has an example of the Brain trying to teach Roman Numeral One to speak. The Brain notes that something is wrong when the clone is not responding to the words "thermogalvanometer" and "magnetohydrodynamics", since it is supposed to be intellectually identical to him (unaware that Pinky accidentally interfered with the cloning process). He then tries to teach Roman to say the word "neurofibromatosis", but Roman ends up saying "Narf!".
  • In Rick and Morty episode "Raising Gazorpazorp", Morty is raising a Half-Human Hybrid baby he was having with a female from an alien Proud Warrior Race. When the time comes for the little one to speak its first word, Morty is shocked when the words emerging are not "Dada" but "Death" and "Domination".
  • In Rugrats, Tommy's first word was "Reptar", Chuckie's was "no", and Angelica's was "cookies".
  • An episode of The Simpsons was all about this, as Homer and Marge told the stories of Bart's & Lisa's first words while awaiting Maggie's. Her first word ends up being "daddy", but nobody hears it, so at the end of The Simpsons Movie, she says "sequel" and they believe that's her first word.
  • In the episode "Baby's First Word" of The Smurfs, the Baby's first word turns out to be "Gargamel".

Feedback: 43 replies

Oct 5th 2012 at 6:26:06 AM

Babys First Words, to make it clear that this is specifically about babies (as opposed to someone who's been mute all their life and finally speaks)?

Feb 25th 2013 at 12:56:00 PM

In one episode Castle mentions that Alexis' first word was "denouement" since he stressed story structure at an early age.

Feb 27th 2013 at 10:05:08 PM

  • There was a Sesame Street book published in 1994 called Me Cookie!, which featured a baby Cookie Monster named "Baby Monster". Early on in the book, he struggles to say the word "Cookie".

I'd add the Pinky And The Brain episode "Brinky" as an example (The Brain trying to teach Roman Numeral One to speak, but Roman ends up saying "Narf!"), but I don't remember the word(s) the Brain intended Roman to say.

Feb 27th 2013 at 11:10:21 PM

  • An episode of The Simpsons was all about this, as Homer and Marge told the stories of Bart's & Lisa's first words while awaiting Maggie's.

Jan 31st 2014 at 8:37:45 AM

The Benny Hill Show: In a long segment parodying The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman where they get together and have a son, called The Bionic Baby:

Steve: He's four years old, it's time he learned to talk.
Jamie: He does love his chicken soup though.
Steve: Here, let me give it to him to the baby Hi there little fella, gonna have some of papa's chickie soupie doopie.
Steve feeds some soup to the baby, who spits it out
Baby: Phew, man. Wow. Sheep dip. You call that chicken soup?
Jamie: He can talk! Hey Steve, he can talk.
Baby: mocking "He can talk, he can talk!" Big....deal.
Jamie: But why did you wait 'til now to talk? Why didn't you talk before?
Baby: 'Cause up until now, the chicken soup's been OK.

Feb 1st 2014 at 5:54:23 AM

The OP kazokuhouou hasn't posted to or edited this since creating it, so I am going to go ahead and change the name.

Feb 1st 2014 at 6:44:29 AM

  • In Rugrats, Tommy's first word was "Reptar", Chuckie's was "no", and Angelica's was "cookies".

Mar 24th 2018 at 11:58:45 PM

There's a theory that Mama and Papa (or variations thereof) as words for mother and father are similar across so many languages because parents associated their baby's meaningless first syllables with themselves.

Mar 25th 2018 at 2:22:23 AM

Western Animation:

  • In Rick And Morty episode "Raising Gazorpazorp", Morty is raising a Half Human Hybrid baby he was having with a female from an alien Proud Warrior Race. When the time comes for the little one to speak its first word, Morty is shocked when the words emerging are not "Dada" but "Death" and "Domination". What the scene here.

Mar 25th 2018 at 3:50:45 AM

^^^ Those respective episodes were "At the Movies", "Rugrats In Paris The Movie'', and "No More Cookies". Tommy's first word gets a Call Back in "Incident in Aisle Seven", wherein Stu believes Tommy is saying "Rip-roar", and Didi believes Tommy is saying "Riffraff", and in a flashback scene in "No More Cookies", Drew and Charlotte try to get an infant Angelica to say "Daddy" and "Mommy", respectively.

Mar 25th 2018 at 7:24:14 AM

Film - Live Action

  • The title character from Baby Driver is called such because of his quiet nature. Doc says they're waiting for him to say his first words.

Apr 7th 2018 at 8:08:59 PM

"Babys" is not grammatically correct, it should be "baby's", and the description needs fleshing out.

  • At the end of the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Baby Cakes", Pound Cake says his first word (Pinkie) and then his twin sister Pumpkin Cake says her first word ("pie"), because Pinkie Pie had been babysitting them.
  • Apparently, in Peppa Pig, Peppa's first word was "Mummy" and George's was "dinosaur" because he's always been interested in dinosaurs. We get to see Peppa and George's little cousin Alexander say his word too. It's "puddles" because everyone in the Peppa Pig universe enjoys jumping in muddy puddles.
  • In the Dirty Bertie story "Bum!", Bertie's mother's friends Simon and Jenny are trying to teach their 14-month-old daughter to talk. When Bertie shouts, "Bum!" as an exclamation, she copies him and that's her first word but because it's sort of rude, Bertie tries to keep her from saying it again.
  • Sesame Street: In one episode, Snuffy tries to teach Natasha her first words, but due to his negativity when she doesn't say them (even though some of the words are things like "refrigerator"), her first words end up being, "Oh, dear".
  • In the kids' story Knuffle Bunny (you pronounce the "K"), a girl named Trixie says, "Knuffle Bunny" as her first words after she loses her toy bunny at the laundromat.
  • Arthur: Zigzagged with Arthur and D.W.'s little sister Kate. Sometimes, they think she said her first word but she was only babbling. Other times, she says actual words but they don't remember if they're her first.

Apr 10th 2018 at 8:19:22 AM

In Scrubs, Doctor Cox's son Jack's first complete sentence is "Daddy drinks a lot" in response to Jordan making the Drinky-Drinky motion about Dr Cox's inebriated current state.

Apr 9th 2018 at 10:17:08 PM

  • In the Paul Jennings story "Smart Ice Cream", the main character thinks his first words were a sentence, on the first day of his life: "Hey, cut it out, Mom, that tickles," however, he was probably lying.
  • In Harriet The Spy, Harriet thinks her first word was "Proceed" but then finds out it was actually "cookie".
  • In the Martha Speaks episode "Martha the Hero Maker", Helen's little brother Jake says his first word "door" which helps out Helen and some of the other characters who were locked behind a door.

Apr 9th 2018 at 11:37:29 PM

Who's responsible for this draft?

Apr 11th 2018 at 12:29:19 AM

^ It was created by kazokuhouou in 2012. It may have been a "fire and forget" proposal (the edit by "kazokuhouou" in 2014 may have been someone else). In any event, two months after their last post/edit in 2014, it became Up For Grabs by the rules on that page.

tl:dr No one is responsible for it. Any troper can take it over.

Apr 10th 2018 at 1:45:26 AM

  • Breaking Bad: Holly's first words are calling for her mother. This is heartbreaking because it happens after her father, Walt has kidnapped her after his secrets have been exposed and he's about to go on the run. Purportedly, this was the baby actress calling for her real mother off camera but Bryan Cranston took advantage of the opportunity and kept in-character.

Apr 10th 2018 at 2:08:16 AM

The logical progression of Baby Talk.

  • Jane The Virgin: Mateo says his first word ("dada") in one episode. This leads to minor drama between former romantic rivals Rafael (his biological father) and Michael (his stepfather), since he says it to Michael instead of Rafael.

Apr 10th 2018 at 3:17:07 AM

In the episode "Baby's First Word" of The Smurfs, the Baby's first word turns out to be "Gargamel".

Apr 10th 2018 at 8:35:49 AM

Added categories and moved the examples into the draft. We still need a proper description, if someone can write one, and a good laconic.

Apr 10th 2018 at 8:52:50 AM

Nonspeaking characters who suddenly speak are likely covered under Suddenly Voiced.

Apr 10th 2018 at 2:44:12 PM

I can write a description, but am I allowed?

Apr 10th 2018 at 3:03:43 PM

  • Chapter 8 of The Second Try features Asuka trying to get her daughter to say her first words. And when she sucessfully says "mama", she tries to get her to say "papa" leading to the following exchange:
    Mama: "Can you say 'Papa'? 'Pa – pa."
    Aki: "Baga."
    Papa: "...She didn't really just say what I think she said, did she...?"

Apr 10th 2018 at 11:11:20 PM

^^Anyone can contribute to or adopt this draft per Up For Grabs rules.

Apr 11th 2018 at 12:51:16 AM

Apr 11th 2018 at 11:40:49 PM

  • Friends: In one episode Rachel is excited by Emma saying her first word, "gleba". At first Ross doesn't think it is a real word, but Rachel finds it in the dictionary and it means "fleshy, spore-bearing inner mass of a certain fungi". Then even Ross becomes excited by this, proclaiming "she's gonna be a scientist!".

May 8th 2018 at 10:38:32 PM

YKTTW Bump

this looks launchable and it has hats, any final comments?

May 8th 2018 at 10:55:46 PM

Midsomer Murders: In "Breaking the Chain", John and Sarah Barnaby spend the episode trying to influence their infant daughter Betty to make her first be either "Dada" or "Mama" respectively. At the end of the end of the episode, Betty says her first word: "Dog". Sykes, the family dog, looks very pleased.

May 9th 2018 at 8:42:42 AM

  • The first words of Shokugeki No Soma's Erina Nakiri, whose sense of taste approaches Super Senses level, were spoken at the amazingly young age of three months old. They were a critique of her mother's breast milk.
    "Not enough depth of flavor."

May 9th 2018 at 12:18:04 PM

You should delete the folders that don't have any examples. However, I do have this...

Film - Animated

May 9th 2018 at 3:26:04 PM

Marked the draft as Up For Grabs since the original sponsor hasn't been by since 2014.

May 14th 2018 at 5:41:43 PM

If it's fine with you lot, I'm gonna launch it.

Jun 5th 2018 at 3:46:54 PM

Comic Books

  • In The Modern Parents in Viz, after much coaching from his older brother Tarquin, Guinivere's first word is "football" - a terrible disappointment to their parents Malcolm and Cressida who wanted Guinivere's first word to be "dolphin".

Jun 5th 2018 at 4:09:50 PM

Should this just be launched already?

Jun 5th 2018 at 7:03:43 PM

That Benny Hill example is actually an old joke told in countless variants.

Jun 7th 2018 at 10:36:14 PM

I want to launch it but want permission.

Jun 9th 2018 at 9:19:57 AM

A joke:

Mother: Darling, today our son got his first tooth. Father: Excellent! Mother: And he made his first step. Father: Great! Mother: But upon making that first step, he fell down and lost his first tooth. Father: Ouch, that's bad! Mother: But upon losing his first tooth, he said his first word. Father: Marvelous! Mother: But if you only knew what it was...

Jun 10th 2018 at 12:14:35 PM

  • In Nier Automata RE Birth, Alexander's first word was "Jackass". While in this context he is saying the character Jackass's name, A2's reaction to her essentially teaching her adopted son a swear word is not a pretty sight.

Jun 10th 2018 at 2:34:50 PM

  • In Drake And Josh, when the brothers are babysitting for their father's boss, they end up losing the baby on the roof. While Josh tries to get the baby, Drake ends up on the phone with the baby's mother. To convince her she's able to speak with her son, he says "Mama" in a baby voice. The mother gets excited because she believes he said his first word. When picking him up that night, she attempts to get him to say it again, with little success.

Jun 10th 2018 at 3:22:37 PM

So, you've grabbed this, Unicorndance?

The laconic has a "/" where an apostrophe should be.

You can launch it if the description's good.

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