Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/803

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STUDIES OF CHILDHOOD. 783

before the verb, as apparently in the following example given by Miss Shinn : A little girl, delighted at the j^rospect of going out to see the moon, exclaimed, " Moo'-'ky (sky) baby shee " (see).* Another kind of inversion occurs when more complex experiences are attempted, as in connecting " my " with an adjective. Thus one child said prettily, " Poor my friends." f

These inversions of our familiar order are suggestive. They have some resemblance to the curious order which appears in the spontaneous sign-making of deaf-mutes. Thus a deaf-mute an- swered the question, Who made God ? by saying, " God made nothing i. e,, "nothing made God." Similarly the deaf-mute Laura Bridgman expressed the petition " Give Laura bread " by the form " Laura bread give," J Such inversions, as we know, are common in certain languages e. g., Latin. The study of the syn- tax of child language and of the sign-making of deaf-mutes might suggest that our English order is not the spontaneous or natural order of expression,*

A somewhat similar inversion of what seems to us the proper order appears in the child's first attempts at negation. The child C early in his third year expressed the idea that he was not go- ing into the sea thus : " No (his name) go in water, no." Similarly Pollock's child expressed acquiescence in a prohibition in this manner : " Baby have papa (pepper) no," where the " no " followed without a pause. The same order appears in the case of French children : e, g., " Papa non " i. e,, " It is not papa," and seems to be a common if not a universal form of the first half-spontaneous sentence-building. Here, again, we see an analogy to the syntax of deaf-mutes, who appear to append the sign of negation in a similar way : e. g., " Teacher I beat, deceive, scold, no " i. e., " I must not beat, deceive, scold my teacher," In the use of special signs of affirmation the correspondence seems less close. Thus Pollock's child was wont to emphasize a positive statement in this way : " Es, es (yes, yes), baby's book there," The deaf-mute appears in such cases to append the affirmative sign.

Another closely related characteristic of this early childish sentence-building is the love of antithesis under the form of two balancing statements. Thus a child will often oppose an affirma- tive to a negative statement as a means of bringing out the full

  • Notes on the Development of a Child, p. 84.

\ Canton, The Invisible Playmate, p. 32 ; who adds that this exactly answers to the form " Good, my lord ! "

\ See Romanes, op. cif., p. 116 f , where other examples may be found.

  • The languages of savages appear to differ like those of civilized races in respect of

order, the succession substantive, verb, attributive, as in " John is good," appeai-ing along- sideof the inverse e. g., " Good is John," See article L'Importance des Langues Sauvages, Revue Philosophique, 1894, p. 465 fP.

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