From the Archives!—SpecGram Propaganda IV—The SpecGram Archive Elves™ SpecGram Vol CLXXVII, No 3 Contents The Devil’s Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics, Fascicle 2—David Krystal—Compiled by Adam Baker

Ultimate Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know
(because they aren’t actually true)

gathered at great personal risk of
psycholinguistic harm from actual student papers
by Madalena Cruz-Ferreira

This 70th and final collection of students’ pearls of wisdom, laboriously digitised from hand-written papers, demonstrates once again how students new to the study of language speculate about grammar after having imperfectly absorbed what their teachers think they have taught them.

Test QuestionChild Syntax

A child aged 1;4 is watching his father eat grapes. The child says:

Daddy bbbb grape.

In this utterance, ‘bbbb’ represents the child’s smacking his lips together.

Given that ‘bbbb’ is not a word, nor does it correspond to any identifiable linguistic unit of the language used by the child, explain whether this utterance can in any way be relevant for language acquisition.

(Data adapted from Cruz-Ferreira, M. (2006). Three is a Crowd? Acquiring Portuguese in a Trilingual Environment. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.)



From the Archives!SpecGram Propaganda IVThe SpecGram Archive Elves™
The Devil’s Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics, Fascicle 2David KrystalCompiled by Adam Baker
SpecGram Vol CLXXVII, No 3 Contents