When I don’t understand what a child says, or an adult, for that matter…I tend to use the auditory placeholder “umm hmmmm” or “ah haaa” as a way of giving myself time/space to figure out where the conversation is going.
5yo S, in his year of language acquisition, never seemed to mind this verbal tick of mine – or he just pushed through it, but 3yo J, who is now in rapid language-acquisition mode, has sussed this strategy out, and he HATES it!!!
I am hearing frequently, whenever I inadvertantly say “ummm hmmm” – “No umm hmmm!!! Talk!”
It has made me very aware of my habit of using these sounds, and I am trying to check myself – he’s right, it’s rude!!! Although, we have a book about a turtle, whose mommy says to him “mm hmmmm” and whenever we read this book, I smilingly stress to J that she says this – see, it’s not just your mommy who uses this non-phrase!!