We're under fowl surveillance. The chickens want in.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Language acquisition with B!

I showed the video from my last post to N and B, and they were predictably thrilled to see their very own mugs on an electronic screen. B's little eyebrows shot up, and he excitedly exclaimed, "It's me and...! It's we! It's... it's..." He floundered, obviously sure that there was a some pronoun, somewhere, that would include himself and the siblings also in the video with him in one neat, monosyllabic package. He just didn't know, or couldn't remember, what it was. But he was undaunted. He was brilliant. He was impressive. I could see his mind working, scanning his little lexicon like my computer scanning for viruses, and when he came up short, he applied his version of Grammar Rules I Know Thus Far and settled on shouting, with unmitigated delight, "It's mes!"

How cool is that? I don't remember learning English, but I remember when I first started learning Japanese. If I didn't know how to express something, it was hard for me forge on, undaunted. I was typically very daunted. Too bad I wasn't more like B and other little language-learning children. And how impressive is it that a not-quite-three-year-old can do this? It's really quite sophisticated if you think about it. "I don't know this word I want to use, but I know the pronoun 'me,' and the word I want is like 'me,' but there are other people with me, so it's more than 'me'... so I'll make 'me' plural! I know how to make plurals!" And so we get "mes." Fantabulous.

"That's right, B." I said. "It's you, and N, and W! So say, 'It's us!'"

And that got me the best smile of all. "Yeah. It's us!" he replied. With great satisfaction.

He may move on to "us," but I will always remember "mes."

Climbing over every language obstacle...

1 comment:

  1. Have you read The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker? I think you would really like it- and I remember a section exploring the process you've just described! B is very impressive. :)