« AnteriorContinuar »
index to find the date of the birth or death of the particular person in question, is a very different matter.
And no one should say that he is too humble in station to make care about such things necessary. Fortune's wheel has many surprising turns, and sometimes carries those round with it who least expect to be raised from their station underneath it. To those higher in rank also the due recording of such things is equally important, for many facts concerning their families can be jotted down which must be interesting and may be useful to those who come after them, and which their posterity can learn in no other manner. In fact, it seems to me that the higher the state of culture of society becomes, the more care will be demanded in matters which so closely concern the family and the race; the more society will ask what it is and whence it springs, and in an increased degree will it be true that "the glory of children are their fathers.”—Gentleman's Magazine.
AN INFANT'S PROGRESS IN LANGUAGE.
By FREDERICK POLLOCK.
IHE following notes were made in humble following of Mr. Darwin's out any distinct purpose of letting them go further. I found, however, that they grew under my hands, and that the editor of Mind thought further contributions on the subject of children's mental growth would be desirable. Here I have kept in the main to the one point of language, and, though I have probably omitted much, I think I have set down nothing as fact which has not been actually and distinctly observed. Exact dates I have not attempted to give, conceiving that they would be of no use unless for the comparison of a very large number of observations. Children differ so much in forwardness that the time of particular acquisitions seems of little importance as compared with their order. Though I have no pretensions to skill in phonetics, I thought it at least desirable to use some consistent notation for the sounds actually produced. For this purpose I have taken the Indian Government system, with a few additional signs which will speak for themselves. I may explain that in this notation, while á, í, are the long Continental a and i, unaccented a is not the short Continental a, but the obscure or neutral vowel (Urvocal) heard in English “at," “that," “but," when not emphatic ; when strongly given, it becomes the full sound of u in emphasized “but.” Thus the Punjaub, Lucknow, Kurrachee, of popular use, become in the official spelling Panjáb, Lakhnau, Karachi. “Governor and Company” would be written Gavarnar
and Kampani. The vowel-sound in “ bank,” which does not occur in Indian languages, could be expressed only by some special symbol. I use à for the broad sound of a in “fall.” Words in italics are in the Indian Government spelling. Words between inverted commas are in ordinary English spelling.
Age, twelve months. M-m often repeated; Bá bá repeated an indefinite number of times.
M-m generally indicated a want of something. Bá bá was: 1. A sort of general demonstrative, standing for the child herself, other people, or the cat (1 do not think she applied it to inanimate objects); 2. An interjection expressing satisfaction. Both sounds, however, seemed often to be made without distinct intention, as mere exercise of the vocal organs.
Thirteen months. Dá dá ; Wa wa (water, drink); Wah wah, with a guttural sound distinct from the foregoing (dog, cat); Ná ná (nurse-of course as proper, not generic name).
Dá dá was at first a vague demonstrative. I noted, however, with a query, man as a second and specialized meaning. About six weeks later it became a distinct proper name for the child's father, and has been consistently so used ever since. By this time the significance of pictures was in a general way understood. The child said wah wah to figures of animals, and attempted to smell at trees in the illustrations of the Graphic. (Six months later she pretends to feed the dogs in a picture.) The fact is curious, having regard to the inability of adult savages, as reported by many travelers, to make anything of even the simplest representations of objects. About this time the ticking of a watch gave great pleasure, and for some months afterward the child constantly begged to have one put to her ear, or, still better, to have it in her hand and put it there for herself. Five or six months later she had left off asking for it.
Fifteen months. M-m discontinued. Sometimes bá bá used instead; sometimes she simply cried for a desired object.
Imitative sounds to represent dog, cat, sheep, ticking of clock. Wah wah, miau, soon became generic names of dog and cat (wah wah, which at first included cat, becoming appropriated to dog). I think, however, wah wah would include any middling-sized quadruped other than a cat or a sheep. As to cat, her name for it became, a few months later, aya-m or ayá-m, which, so far as I know, she invented for herself. The conventional gee-gee ” for horse was very soon understood by her, though she could not form the j sound. She recognized a zebra in a picture-alphabet as “gee-gee,” and showed marked dissent when told it was a zebra.
These imitative sounds were all learned on the suggestion of adults, but studied from the real sounds ; for as made by the child they are decidedly nearer to the real sounds than the baa baa, etc., used by adult voices.
Baby” (or rather bé bi). This word was now formed with fair success, but soon dropped for a time. About a month afterward it was resumed, and became the child's name for herself. This was long before she attempted any other dissyllable. It was pronounced, however, rather as a reduplicated monosyllable.
Sixteen months. Ba (ball), sometimes ba. Tá (1, thanks; 2, take, when offering something) : this was deliberately taught her.
Playing with a ball became a favorite amusement at this time. She would throw a ball out of the window and expect it to be returned. When we tried a regular game of ball she seemed to think the point of the game was to get possession of the ball and keep it. A certain capacity for dramatic play was now first observed. The child knew the various animals in a toy menagerie by name, and would make believe to feed them with a spoon. About a month later she was taught a piece of rudimentary drama. The picture of the little boy that cries in the lane” and gets no wool had fixed her attention in a book of nursery-rhymes, by this time constantly in hand, and now, on being asked, “ What does the little boy that cries in the lane do ?” she puts up her hands to her eyes and whimpers. She laughs afterward, which I think is fair evidence that she understands the performance and considers it a good joke.
Seventeen months. Ní (knee). This is a real word, used in a special and at the same time extended meaning. It signifies, Take me on your knee and show me pictures ; and also expresses in a general way the idea of something (generally the cat) being on a person's lap, so that ni not unfrequently means, I want to see the cat on your lap. She also puts a toy dog on her knee and repeats ní several times with great satisfaction. About this time “baby” came to be freely used as an imperative or desiderative, combined with movements or gestures indicating an object-the sense being, I want that.
Seventeen to eighteen months. Má má, mother. I have no note of when this word began to be used (probably it was some months before this), but it was well established by this time at latest.
Ná ni or ñá ni (granny).
Pí (please). On learning to say "please” in this fashion the child left off putting her hands together to ask for things, which she had been taught to do before she could speak.
Pé pé, pencil (only once heard).
Pá pá. This was taught her as a synonym for dá dá, but she would not use it. Both “paper” and “pepper” (as common objects at the breakfast-table) became in her mouth something not easily distinguished from pá pá. This may perhaps account for her unwillingness to take up the new name.
Ba or bö, book.
“ More,” or rather må, often prolonged to má-a or mo-a—to ask for more of some food, etc., or to ask for any action that pleased her to be repeated. This word enabled her to form an approach to a sentence: thus, mâ . . . má má (“more, mama ”).
Tá tá (taught her as the usual baby word for good-by, but extended by herself); always distinguished from the single tá noted above. Tá tá not only is used to say good-by, but expresses the general idea of going out-of-doors. Thus she says tá tá to her perambulator, and on seeing one take up a hat or overcoat.
A final nasal sound is now produced: she tries to say “down,” what she does say being roughly dáõ—take me down from my chair-a very frequent request, as she can by this time walk easily, and is fond of running about the room.
The vocabulary is now increasing fast, and almost any word proposed to the child is imitated with some real effort at correctness. The
of articulate sounds is still very limited : a, á, i (short and long) are the only vowels fully under command; à occurs in a few words, and is the usual result of attempts to form o: thus, na-nose. The long sound of English i (ai) cannot be pronounced; when she tries to imitate it she says iá or i-a. No approach is yet made to the peculiar English short sound of a in such words as hat, bat. Of consonants g, 1, r (the true consonant initial sound; the final semi-vowel, as in more, poor, is easy enough to her), and sibilants, aspirates, and palatals, are not yet mastered. Guy” (a younger cousin's name) is called dá, or perhaps rather dá, the d or d produced far back and apparently with effort ; k is also produced far back in the mouth, with an approach to t. Final consonants are seldom or never given, and the vocabulary is essentially monosyllabic, the only exceptions being in the nature of proper names (“baby,” xá-ni, ná-ná), and even these are reduplicated monosyllables rather than dissyllables proper. She once said “lady" pretty well, but did not take it into use. No construction is yet attempted; the first approach to a sentence above noted has not been repeated. Even with these resources the child already contrives to express a good deal, filling up the meaning of her syllables with a great variety of tone, and also with inarticulate interjections. Impatience, satisfaction, disappointment, amusement, are all very well marked ; and perhaps even intellectual dissent (in the case of “ zebra” and “gee-gee,” see above).
After this time (viz., her eighteenth birthday, reckoning birthdays by calendar months, as for this purpose is convenient) the child's progress became much more rapid, and it would not have been possible to take down all her new words without giving much more and more continuous attention than I had at my disposal. I also doubt if anything would have been gained by it. The subsequent notes must be taken as being rather selections than a full record.
Eighteen to nineteen months. “Poor” (should perhaps have been set down earlier): no appreciable difference from ordinary adult pronunciation. Dam (gum), a word of large significance ; see next paragraph.
“Poor” was taught as an expression of pity, but extended to mean any kind of loss, damage, or imperfection in an object, real or supposed. Some of her reasons for assuming imperfection were curious. She said “poor” to the mustard pot and spoon, taking, as we suppose, the movable spoon for a broken part. Gum,” on the other hand, with which toys are often mended, is conceived as a universal remedy for things broken or disabled. Later (at twenty-two and a half months) she says “poor” to a crooked pin, and on my beginning to straighten it, “dada mend.'
The sound of g is now coming, and a final nasal is developed. “Down” is pretty well pronounced. Ding=dinner-not the meal or meal-time, but a toy dinner-service.
Bé bé=biscuit, with desiderative-imperative tone and meaning.
Nineteen months. O sound now distinctly made, and g distinct by the end of the month. "Guy" is now gá instead of dá. A final l once or twice observed: t'al=shawl. Final t distinctly made: hat or höt (hot). Soon afterward p (in “top,” pronounced tap or töp); pu= foot; after mastering final t she said fat. The monosyllabic form (one consonant and one vowel) still prevails. K is a favorite sound, and she has several words formed with it, which are carefully kept distinct. Ku=stool. Kah (later kad)=cod [liver oil], which she considers a treat. Ko="cozy” (on teapot); later ka-zi or ka-zhi. Karcold. Ká ká=chocolate. Khi-en or kli-en=clean; her first real dissyllable, for so she pronounced it. Bé for biscuit has now become bek. Sh’ad (thread). She has now observed the process of sewing, and tries to imitate it. Things broken, etc., are now divided into those which are to be mended with dam and those which are to be mended with sh’ad. Approach to chu (sugar) and shu (shoe, also sugar) sometimes quite distinct. I also note “jar” as well said, but 8, sh, ch, j, are on the whole indistinct, and attempts to form them give curious palatal and sibilant sounds which I cannot write down. W, v, f, are now formed, but not well distinguished. Vák or wák=walk, fák=fork. Here also we get intermediate sounds. The w is often more German than English, though she cannot have heard the German w spoken.
The fork is a toy fork in the set of things generally called ding or din. But fák has another unexpected meaning. The child likes to look at an old illustrated edition of Dr. Watts's poems, and she has