I find this fascinating, particularly now that I hear "I NO LIKE IT!" basically forty times a minute.
Turns out there's not just one way kids mean no, but three general categories:
1. Rejection negation: just what it sounds like
So,"Eat your spinach!"
2. Disappearance negation: negatives with reference to the disappearance of something that is no longer perceivable to the child
So, a kid drops a cookie from his high chair, and it falls to the floor.
3. Truth functional negation: corrects the fact and establishes the truth, what these guys call the "No, dumb-ass."
So, you point to an apple and ask the kid: "Is that a monkey?"
And that's not even getting into the unfulfilled expectations and secondary tier negations and shit.
Pretty cool stuff, huh? Doesn't make it less annoying when you hear "No no no no NO!" but at least it keeps your brain functional.
Nicole is a parenting writer who contributes essays and articles for magazines like Parenting, Parents, American Baby and Babble. She lives in Brooklyn with three children, one husband and a morbidly obese goldfish.