Thursday, May 21, 2009

Telling It Like It Is

One of the things I have always found interesting and marvel at is that a small human being, having existed for such a short period of time, is able to use the fundamental tools of language. If you watch her hand gestures, her timing and pace she actually believes she is communicating yet without the experience of words. She has no discernible word other than 'momma'. Language is hard-wired into our brains and its basis has to be genetic just waiting for nurture to fill the bowl with a proper syntax. Her hand gestures to me indicate that we still have a primal artifact of communication with hand gestures much like we see in chimps and other primates. It would be amazing to understand what images her inner dialogue is forming that she is trying to express and you can note from her eye movement she is trying to understand why they are laughing at her.


nanc said...

it sounds as though she's making perfect sense - wonder if you could slow it down to see if she's actually making words we can understand?

our little zgirl's smile didn't catch up with her laugh until about the age of two - you could hear her laughing (which sounded like a hungry baby goat), but to look at her face she was dead serious.

IOpian said...

I went into computer science somewhat blind just wanting to get a degree that could make some money. Little did I suspect that it is almost a degree in linguistics and a couple of the courses are actually studying the foundations of language structure and one of the upper level courses is to write a program to parse a fictitious language into another code that will compile and run. I have sort of found an interest in language and how the brain seems so suited for it.

I have often watched my grand niece and nephew as their language abilities have grown over the last 4 years. How do you teach a little kid the concept of 'is', 'too' or 'the' ?

I once got scolded by the lady that ran the tutoring lab I worked in because she overheard me telling one of my tutorees that it is hard to explain what a 'function' is in a way that doesn't just add more confusion but if you do enough of them you come to just acquire the concept. Of course the Professor running the lab had a doctorate in education so I really didn't expect her to understand mathematics.

But it is the same concept with children. They just hear how we us these articles and understand them at an early age even before they can speak. Like "Put that in the trash." The only operative words are maybe in and trash. But they absorb put.. that... the into a coherent statement.

Very interesting.

IOpian said...

I might add ( I really should be in there working ) that music, dance, mathematics and chemistry are languages as well. All have their rules and order of sequences that are followed.

nanc said...

you sound just like nancson...GEEK! and i say that lovingly - *8]

IOpian said...

Have achieved my Geek credentials.. moving onto my 'Guru' certification!

As I learned from my professors a guru is someone you give a project to, shut them away in a closet somewhere throwing in the occasional cheeseburger and Doritos then presto, the project is completed.

nanc said...

cool ranch or bleu cheese doritos? this is a test to true geekhood...according to nancson!

IOpian said...

original doritos then cool ranch if that's all that is available.

Keep in mind I am old school. These younguns these days have their own style.

nanc said...

nancson just recently picked up on the bleu cheese and now he wants it on everything - burgers, sannies, salads, chips - it must be the "new" geekdom?