Friday, October 10, 2008
Interesting Observations by Children and Linguistic Children
One thing that's fun about having kids is all the creative observations they make. Like the time my daughter saw a toy German airplane from World War II I had at home and proclaimed, "This airplane looks angry," because the Luftwaffe insignia looked like the "anger mark" seen so often in anime and manga. Or the time my family went to stay with a friend in Malaysia, and my daughter wondered why the (normal) maids that worked at our friend's house weren't wearing extremely kawaii uniforms like the ones she'd seen on Japanese TV. Then there was the time my son made a mistake in English, so he shrugged and said, "My name is stupid English," making a joke on that most elementary of ESL phrases. But you don't need to be a kid to be creative: just start learning a foreign language like Japanese. The natural period of exploration you'll go through as you engage in silly wordplay games in order to discover the boundaries of the language will have you coming up with the most expressive and inspired observations in no time, just like children do. This "linguistic childhood" effect also can also serve as a defense when your wife wants to know you're still geeking out over episodes of Mobile Suit Gundam at your age. Since I started learning Japanese in college in 1987, linguistically I'm only 21 years old!