As Fleur develops language skills, she puts them to very practical uses. She asks for snacks, articles of clothing, and people. Of late, though, that also entails directives. Orders.
Daddy, [throw this] away!
I fear our interactions with the ever listening Big Sister have encouraged this style of direction. The first directives were aimed at it. The “Meow” the cat. Then Galahad. Of late, that has included the parents.
Ah, well, at least she is getting me to eat my oatmeal in the morning.
Funny how we have to tell this to both toddlers and teenagers. The toddler it is to ask, “Can you say cup?” or “Can you say down?” The teenager it is to ask, “Can you be more specific about what you mean?”
The baby babble took an interesting turn with these monologues that remind me of… well, there is no good way to say it… but, I really don’t want to… so, here goes… Hitler.
She has the cadence down. The cadence sounds German and very, very passionate about whatever it is that is the subject of her monologue.
English is at its core a Germanic language. It is named for the Angles who were a Germanic tribe who migrated to the island that is now the home of England. Another major influence comes from the Saxons who were another Germanic tribe. Frisian provided yet another Germanic influence. William the Conqueror brought a French influence so the royal court spoke it while the commoners spoke English, but eventually, the two merged into modern English.
Guess this makes me wonder if most English speaking kids go through an oratory phase like this? Or is this cadence thing more universal such that all kids speak something similar?
Some researchers at U. Rochester and U. Cal. Berkeley attempted to estimate how much information a child learns to acquire a native language.
To put our lower estimate in perspective, each day for 18 years a child must wake up and remember, perfectly and for the rest of their life, an amount of information equivalent to the information in this sequence:
Even at the lower end, it suggests the presence of mechanisms in the brain that help in language acquisition. I guess a question I have is what is the threshold for there not to be one? (The upper end is almost 2,000 bits a day.)
And we are talking about every bit here being new information. Similar to the Five Books a Day post, these are NEW bits every day.
The amounts are staggering to me. And it strikes me how impressively children learn about the world, categorize the data, and synthesize it into information. The challenge as a parent is to ensure the child gets enough exposure to acquire all this data.
I love reading about the incongruity of the kids of friends. Part of why I started this is in hopes of reporting on the best of Fleur’s. The Atlantic has a good article “Knock Knock. Who’s There? Kids. Kids Who? Kids Tell Terrible Jokes.“:
“Even when their parents are feeding them ‘dad jokes’ to try to teach them about humor, half of the jokes that kids hear, they don’t quite get.” So it’s only natural, Dubinsky says, for some children to believe that a couple of absurd or mismatched concepts assembled into a familiar “knock-knock” or “What do you call …” structure adds up to a joke.
“Kids say, ‘Oh, jokes are about incongruity. I’ll show you some incongruity,’” Dubinsky says. “But they haven’t got the sophistication to construct an incongruity that’s going to be resolvable.”
Which, coincidentally, sometimes results in jokes that resemble a more advanced form of humor: an “anti-joke.” Anti-jokes deliberately deny the audience a clever or satisfying punch line, and they often serve as edgy or sophisticated commentary on jokes themselves.
Poor Fleur will suffer from “dad jokes.” She already hears them. She just has no idea she is inundated with them. And I love me some incongruity. So much of my attention is analyzing rules from social behavior to code to business process rules. I am always interested in the how and why to tease out mismatches to learn from them. Maybe that is why I love “dad jokes” so much?