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Kids say the darndest things!

 
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Meresankh
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 4:46 pm    Post subject: Kids say the darndest things! Reply with quote

I have a 15 year old, not overly dumb, who will be doing GCSE's next year, has indeed started doing assessed coursework and half-exams now. Well, the other night he asked a question that really took me by surprise. We were watching the film "The Gods Must Be Crazy" which features a San (Bushman) family speaking their own language, which is characterised by click consonants, very rare cross-linguistically....but I digress. Anyway, what he came out with was: "how can they speak if they can't write?" So I explained that writing has been around for about five and a half thousand years, but people have been speaking for 40,000 years, perhaps much longer, and until recently most languages weren't written down, and even in literate cultures most people weren't literate until recently......But there was more. "How do they teach their children to speak if they can't write? How did you teach me English?" So again, I had to explain that people aren't taught their native language at all, they simply acquire it because it's there, the process not even being conscious....but that's all way beyond a kid, of course!

Anyway, I thought it was extraordinary that anyone could imagine that written language preceded spoken language. I suppose it indicates how pervasive the written language is nowadays, that we forget that for most of history, most people have lived without it.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is amazing that it is perceived as such a natural part of our lives.
Even my own grandmother (on my mother's side) was illiterate. Not sure she could even write her own name.

I have always found language development rather mysterious Very Happy You learn to associate objects and concepts with sounds and somewhere you pick up the structure of the language which allows you to combine all these sounds...

This actually came up a couple of years ago when my friend noted that her son put together that the duck in the pond and the duck in the cartoon were meant to represent the same type of animal Smile They certainly don't look the same!

He was also bilingual and for the longest time the animal in the pond was only recognised by the word from one of the languages as opposed to the other.
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Meresankh
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2005 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's quite common in very early child language. The early use of words is strongly context bound, and might be used for an object only in a particular situation.Gradually, of course, you abstract away from specific situations, and develop the ability to classify things as types of objects, so even if they don't look much alike, a few essential shared features will be enough to recognise them as the same type of object!
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Daniella
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I aslo fnid it fnuny how the hmuan biran wroks, eevn tuhgoh the wrdos in tihs stencene are mxied up, you hvae no plebrom udnsersatnindg it.

That's because we don't read letter for letter, we see that the first and last letters are in place and just know what it says, and it just flows. Wink
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