Archive for May 13th, 2010

Kids, speech and learning

Posted on 13 May 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: , , |

This is not a high-browed discussion on kids and how they learn to speak and how they learn grammar, it’s just going to be an observation. I was having lunch with some friends yesterday, the hostess’ two kids were there and the two-year-old was enamoured with me, she just couldn’t get enough of being around me, sitting on my lap and generally smiling up at me. The three-year-old brought over a game and was playing it with us.

It was a matching game so I’ll get you to imagine the scene. Two mums sitting on the couch (neither of us were the mum of these children), in between us is the matching game and standing on the floor (or inhabiting my lap) were the two kids. The three-year-old was definitely in charge of the game and he understood about taking turns and would instruct everyone when it was their turn. I was quite amused to note he couldn’t always get it right but they both had fun and he was so good and trying to get everything right. He occasionally helped us with our turns and we would then ‘win’. It was fascinating to be a part of this interaction. He was particularly solicitous of his younger sister and helped her quite a lot which meant she ‘won’ a lot more than the rest of us.

The fascinating bit about this scene was when she ‘won’. She got quite excited and told everyone she had ‘winned’. I was interested by this past tense of the word ‘won’. At some stage she’s understood the concept of past tense and has figured out that you need to put the letters ‘ed’ on the end to make it past. This is a very clever thing for her to do, it’s quite high in the thinking process and I do know there’s some fairly technical language to describe this but I don’t actually know it. It is highly possible she learnt this from her brother, but he’s not that much older than she is so you’ve got the same process happening in his brain at whatever age he figured this out. Absolutely fascinating.

The only problem with putting ‘ed’ on the end of win, is that there is always some exception to the rule and in this the word does not become ‘winned’. Understanding this concept takes far more time for them to unravel as it’s at a higher level of learning.

At this point I’d be thanking the ladies I had lunch with yesterday and crediting them and the children with giving me this thought, but I haven’t asked their permission so I can’t name them. If they read this they’re at liberty to ‘out’ themselves and their businesses.

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