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314 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD
better determined in their analysis and finally projected into the
composition of the word.
The exercise in composition lasts a still longer time than the
other which is concerned in establishing the mechanism linking
the two languages. It therefore suffices for the most part, for the
acquisition of correct spelling, before writing suddenly comes into
existence, which may reproduce a considerable number of words
already found in the non-phonetic languages and almost all the
words in the phonetic languages.
This association between the two languages, spoken and written,,
is of the highest importance and forms the key to the whole deve-
lopment of writing. Writing then becomes a second form of
language associated with the mother tongue, and a way of com-
munication is established between the two languages through these
On the other hand, with the usual methods, writing is a thing
apart which is learnt independently of the spoken language and
is studied objectively with supposed difficulties of sounds and
syllables as if the whole language had to be built up ex novo, for-
getting that the language already is formed and that the child
already has been using it since the age of two, and that all the
difficulties which the mother tongue presents are provided for by
an act of nature.
Let us note the advantages of the method described.
The letters of the alphabet act on the spoken language,
instigating almost mechanically the analysis of the spoken word.
It is the spoken word which is thrown into relief in the
analysis of the sounds of which it is composed.
Once this association of signs with sounds is established,
it is possible to reconstruct with the alphabet all the words
which exist in the mind of the child and those which he hears
Then, after merely having the trouble of associating signs with
sounds, all spoken language can be composed with graphic signs,
and suddenly ends in provoking the outburst of writing.