of small circulation, the Monthly Journal of Psychological Medicine
, he gave what Mr. Hale
calls “a clear and scientific account” of something more of the same kind.
It was a language contrived by a little girl four years and a half old, in connection with her brother of three. “About twenty of the words are given, most of which are used in several allied acceptations, as mea
, meaning both cat and furs; migno-migno
, water, wash, bath; ban
, soldier, music; odo
, to send for, to go out, to take away; waia-waiar
, black, darkness, a negro.
The language 1had its own forms of construction, as in mea waiawaiar
, ‘dark furs,’ literally ‘furs dark,’ when the adjective follows its substantive.”
says the children talked in this way with the greatest rapidity and fluency.
Further inquiries have shown, Mr. Hale
says, that this phenomenon is not unusual, and the theory he founds upon it is very simple.
The only question is, indeed, whether it is not too simple.
Suppose, he thinks, a family of children, in whom the language-making instinct is thus strong, to be suddenly placed by some social or physical catastrophe in a position of entire isolation, were the parents presently die. If the children are very young, they will also die; but if they are old enough to survive — which would be particularly easy in a tropical country — they will grow up speaking a wholly new language,