Today Baby Field Notes said her first 'real' word: UP.
Previously she has said 'BIG,' which blew me away because, a) she's a very quiet child who doesn't really babble on and on so we've rarely heard vowel and and even fewer consonant sounds, b) was late to giggle, c) was only about 8 months old, and d) perfectly enunciated the word: BIG. It really surprised me. She's certainly heard that word a lot, what with two enormous dogs keeping her company!
This time was different though, because she used UP in the right context, intentionally, and along with the right gesture. When she said BIG it probably was unintentional. I think she was just experimenting with her tongue and mouth and voice. It wasn't in the right situation, at least not without making up a story, and wasn't coincident with any meaningful gesture, so it really can't be considered language.
But what is language? It's complicated but you can glean a lot from this excellent discussion, if you click here.