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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

322               THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

This second period of our experiments has a history much
more important and surprising than that of the first period.

One of the practical sides of this new development lies in the
facilitation, almost the complete revolution, of the problem of
learning to write in a non-phonetic language. Here, in fact, the
intuition of the child plays a part, being stimulated by his creative
power. Thus, whilst in the first period we witnessed the pheno-
menon of children intuitively reading words written in printed or
sven gothic type, without any formal teaching, so here by means
of intuition they read non-phonetic words (belonging to their own
mother tongue) simply by using objects and attractive games. It
is, after all, a spontaneous effort urged on by interest, something
analogous to what urged modern scientists to interpret unknown
inscriptions on prehistoric monuments.

The passionate interest of the children should be interpreted
as the interest provoked by a c discovery' of those conquests,
which they had made unconsciously during the first years of
their life.

Let us give some practical illustration of grammatical grouping
of words.

The substantives taken alone and read do not represent natural
language, because one never says only, " Seat," or " Flower,'*
but at least "the seat, the flower," etc.; that is, the article is
always used along with the noun. In the same way there is often
-attached to the noun an adjective to indicate objects of the same
kind; for example, we say, "the red flower, the yellow flower,
the round table, the large table," and so on. And adjectives
possess a very distinct significance for our children, who, in their
sense-exercises, become acquainted through the senses with the
sensations of qualities, learning in an exact manner the distinguish-
ing terms—thick, thin, small, great, dark blue 'colour, light blue, etc.
It is evident that at this period the child is doing the mental work
of making himself conscious of the facts acquired by him uncon-
sciously, and is extending and fixing them. This natural tendency
was well illustrated by our successive attempts, and Signor Mario