Saturday, March 22, 2014

a surprising portrait

The Jazz Protagonists got through recording a live show at the home of Scott and Jennifer Rose — a yearly tradition. This particular evening they were celebrating Scott's birthday. On the wall above the piano was a painting hanging, wrapped in birthday wrapping paper.

Partway through, Scott tore open the present: a portrait of the Jazz Protagonists that they will now hang on their wall. What an honor!!


Monday, March 17, 2014

trocolatey goodness

A linguistic landmark: today, Greta used the word "trocolate." ... sounds just like a kid funny, but listen to what's going on in her brain — not only putting together language rules, but pulling apart slurs she hears in casual pronunciation.

Greta hears palatalizations like "chruck" for "truck" all the time. When saying "trouble," some people don't just make a 't' sound followed by an 'r' sound at the beginning — they make something more like a 'ch' sound: "chrouble." For "Tuesday," lots of Brits say "Choose-day" while most Americans say "Toos-day" or "Tyoos-day."

Greta, like most Brakes, is being reared for radio-ready pronunciation. She hears people say "ch-rouble" and "ch-ruck" and knows that the "real" way to say it is "t-rouble" and "t-ruck" — and then overgeneralizes, so that she suspects that "chocolate" is actually "trocolate."

You can hear this same process when Southerners and Texans refer to the Jaguar car brand as "Jag-wire." They're overcorrecting. "You're a *liar* if you said you set a *Jaguar* on *fire*" sounds like three rhyming things around here (lahrr, fahrr): so when you decide to say it in the un-Texas/South accent, you just might "correct" all three to rhyme with "choir."

So, it's all pretty fascinating: she's very obviously creating a set of language rules in her brain, not just sounds as words tied to some meaning, but actual *structures* with a system behind them. When your kid says "mouses," it doesn't show stupidity at all; it shows smarts. The kid simply hasn't learned all the exceptions, but has — amazingly really! — put together complex rules of how words are formed, and is applying them all over.

It's so deep; it's so wide, your inside!