Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/613

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AN INFANT'S PROGRESS IN LANGUAGE.

to bed, takes it out for a walk and brings it home, etc. On one occasion she scolded it for two or three minutes, saying "naughty Bessie" with much gravity. We could not discover what the supposed offense was. I may observe on this that I have no reason to doubt that all the play with her doll is purely and consciously dramatic, not animistic; in other words, I have seen nothing-to indicate a belief that the doll is really alive, nor is there, so far as I can observe, any tendency to attribute life to other inanimate objects. I think the child is perfectly aware of the difference between animals and things, though I am unable to give specific reasons for this impression. "Again" is now used to strengthen "more:" when she wants anything repeated she says "more ’gain." The following is an actual short conversation, on seeing an ivory ring spun teetotum-wise: "Baby do’t. . . [after failure to make it spin herself] more ’gain. . . ma-ma ’gain. . . ma-ma do’t. . . [then turning to another object of interest]. . . baby's báts (basket). . . ma-ma, take off cover." Command of general and symbolic language continues to make almost daily progress. Zát sing (that thing) is now used to call attention to any desired object, the name of which has not been mastered.

At twenty-two and a half months, besides the dramatic play with the doll, we have now some quasi-dramatic imitation of grown-up people's action. For some time the child has been accustomed to bring the newspaper to the breakfast-table, and she always pretends to read it herself before handing it over. To-day, seeing her mother writing, she scratched the paper with a dry pen, saying, "Baby lait (write) ma-ma's letter."

 

Twenty-three months. Fluency and command of language increase. We note the first appearance of a question, viz.: "Where's pussy? baby look up-’tairs. "

The palatals, dental aspirates, and the peculiar English short a (as in "hat") are still imperfect, and r is represented by l. When s comes before another consonant, one of the two is dropped. K is in some words confused with p or t. She says "oken" for "open," "kek" for "take."

The child takes pleasure in quasi-dramatic games and actions with her parents as well as with her doll. Sometimes, when saying goodnight, she pretends to refuse a kiss, and lets me make a fausse sortie, as if annoyed or indifferent, and then calls "dada come back" (or "comed," for she uses this form for present and past indiscriminately, which compels me to set a lower value on her appreciation of inflections), and gives the kiss after all. (At twenty-three and a half months, however, she uses "made" correctly). I think she considers the thing a joke, but not without a shade of fear that it may be taken seriously. The last time, she completed the performance by saying "goody girl" in a tone of extreme self-complacency.