Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Eily's Theory of Language Processing and Speech Production

Friday night, Eily and I attended a slumber party at our friend Natasha's house while Jesse and Natasha's husband, Jim, went on an overnight ice-climbing adventure (during which they discovered how greatly they dislike the cold and all things related to it).  The boys were going out to celebrate Jesse's birthday while Natasha and I - obviously the saner halves of our twosomes - stayed home with the wee ones.  You've probably seen Jesse's pics on FB, but just in case you're too shy to send him a friend request, I'll share one here.*
Jesse's getting weak in his old age.  He had to grow a beard before the trip to combat the cold.

*Don't be shy.  He's the more social of the two of us, so chances are if I talk to you, he won't think twice about it.

As we pulled into the driveway of Natasha's house Friday evening, I mentioned to Eily that we would have to wait a few minutes in the car.  Natasha was en route from picking up their daughter, Rory (2), from daycare.  The conversation went as follows:

Me:  We have to wait here until Auntie Tasha gets back.
Eily:  Is she picking up Rory from school?  I mean, daycare.  I hit the wrong button in my mouth.
Me: Yes, she's picking Rory up from daycare.  What do you mean you hit the wrong button?
Eily:  I hit the school button, but I meant to hit the daycare button in my mouth.
Me:  (Intrigued, as this is not the first time she has mentioned the "button in her mouth") Tell me more about this button.
Eily:  It's in my mouth.
Me: And you have a button in your mouth for each word you say?
Eily:  No, no, no.
Me:  Oh.  So how does this button work?
Eily:  I think of a word in my head and it goes all the way down to my toes.  Then it goes up in my mouth and I push the button.
Me:  I see.  Can you show me the button?
Eily:  Here.  (She points to her tongue.)
Me:  So you think of a word, it goes down to your toes, then it goes back up to your mouth on your tongue and that's the button you hit to talk?
Eily: Yes!  That's what happened.

And that, my friends, is how Eily makes sense of speech and language.  Strangely enough, I haven't come across this particular theory in any of my courses.  Perhaps she's onto something here.  Well, before anyone else tries to claim credit for it, I hereby decree that the hypothesis of words traveling from brain to toes to mouth and produced by the press of a button will henceforth be known as:  Eily's Theory of Language Processing and Speech Production (2013).  I'll let you know when her research is published.

Eily's first colloquium to discuss her groundbreaking research in Speech & Language will probably look something like this. (Pictured with cousins Jordan and Jenna during her autumn trip to MN.  Photo by Kiara Vollick.)

The rest of the weekend was fun and quiet while the boys were away.  And Eily learned a valuable lesson about winter driving conditions in upstate NY.  Snow tires are a good thing, but a push from a friend is sometimes the only way to make it out of your parking spot. 

Eily at the wheel with Rory providing the muscle.

1 comment:

  1. That is seriously one of the cutest things EVER! :)