Download Give Up, Gecko! by Margaret Read MacDonald PDF

By Margaret Read MacDonald

“Elephant! Elephant! Heavy! Heavy! Heavy! Elephant! Elephant! STOMP! STOMP! STOMP!” Elephant was once shouting and stomping. yet might he stomp a gap deep adequate to arrive water for the thirsty animals? Maybe…maybe no longer. all of the animals attempted until eventually tiny Gecko Gecko takes a flip. he's small...but he's decided. And he's unlikely to renounce! little ones will like to chant and stomp alongside to this Ugandan folktale.

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This theory has been popularly referred to as the language instinct (Pinker, 1994). It accounts for the ease and speed with which babies all over the world learn to use and understand languages, rapidly becoming skilled linguists and communicators. It can be criticised for undervaluing the role played by social life and experiences in children’s linguistic achievements. Other approaches have looked at the ways in which the early language used by a child in communicating with his or her carers turns inward to change and enrich the ways in which the child can think (Vygotsky, 1986; Bruner and Haste, 1987).

Paley, 1986, p. 4) Mollie reminds us that personal narratives create ways of thinking about abstract and difficult ideas and formulating hypotheses which can be modified in the light of further experience and information. These processes are more usually described as learning. qxp 04/03/2007 11:06 Page 35 STORIES, NARRATIVE AND PLAY WITH LANGUAGE 35 The personal narratives of young children are exciting glimpses of learning as it occurs. They are also acts of self-assertion and identity. Once again these narratives can be linked with early language and mark-making because they assert ‘I am here, I exist, look at me’.

There is no evidence, however, that it is due to linguistic incompetence and confusion. Very young emerging bilinguals often do ‘language mixing’ which involves combining words from several languages in their simple utterances (Macrory, 2006). This may reflect an early stage of learning to separate their different languages (Arnberg, 1987), but it is not a symptom of muddle and inadequacy. Indeed, many researchers would agree that young bilinguals associate particular people with particular languages in a systematic way, offering instant translations and reassurances to confused monolingual carers!

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