Monday, January 23, 2006

The case for language

Today, we were eating dinner with some mustard. Tom started pointing at the mustard and saying "da" --- he clearly wanted the mustard. He was becoming very upset about this. When we gave him some mustard, he did not want to eat it. When we gave him the jar of mustard to play with, he seemed happier but then gave it back to us to do something with.

Because he cannot talk, he cannot tell us what he wants to do with mustard! Grunts and hand gestures are not enough. Some people say that they learn Russian to read War and Peace --- well, maybe Tom will learn English so he can play with the mustard the way he wants to.

What do you think Tom wanted? My theory is that he liked to watch us squeeze the jar of mustard


Blogger Mike said...

David did you get my email

10:27 PM

Blogger Tobie said...

Could it have been something behind the mustard? Or perhaps he was simply remarking on the existance of mustard and its general decorativeness?

12:00 PM

Blogger Rachel said...

I think you're overestimating Tom. It's very possible he had no idea what he wanted to do with the mustard. Hand gestures are great for conveying stuff like give me and do this, but they can't convey thoughts that aren't there.

10:38 AM

Blogger David said...

Rachel, I like your interpretation. Tom was like the dog who actually caught the car.

4:48 PM


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