Word substitution errors offer a glimpse into the linguistically unconscious.  I swear I learn as much from kids as they do from me. One of the big questions in the fields of neurolinguistics is whether words how words are stored: semantically – according to meaning – and phonetically – according to sound.  A child last week shared their personal linguistic pathway when asked to name pictures. When shown the Picture: 

The wonderful name retrieved from long-term memory? “Garden gnome”

A great way to preserve to preserve syllabic structure.  Say it aloud.

It’s almost as treasured as a 5 year old defining the word “transparent” (a word well outside his expected lexicon) as:

“Transparent? Maybe it’s when your parents are divorced and you move from your mom’s house to your dad’s house?”

Now that’s better than anything one could find in OED or Webster.


Comments are closed.