Csíkszereda Musings

My life in and around Csíkszereda, also known as Miercurea Ciuc.


Posted by Andy Hockley on 29 November, 2007

…with a slightly-lingual-in-two-languages toddler(is there a word for that?)

Paula (at shelves, arms stretching up to show need for something out of reach): Apuka! [Dad] Puzzle!
Me: You want me to get you a puzzle?
Paula (nodding furiously): Igen! [Yes]
Me: Would you like the big puzzle or the small puzzle?
Paula: Igen!
Me (patiently): The big one or the small one?
Paula (still nodding furiously): Igen! Igen!
Me: Would you like the b-i-g puzzle or the s-m-a-l-l puzzle?
Paula: Igen!
(pause, light of understanding begins to dawn in her eyes, looks at me, and says very slowly and deliberately, as if to an idiot) Yes.

4 Responses to “Conversation”

  1. GadjoDilo said


    In terms of first-order predicate logic, Paula is probably correct. If she wants one of the puzzles – either the big one (b) or small one (s) – then her reply “yes” (or, indeed “igen”) represents the truth value in all circumstances:

    ( paulawants(b) ∨ paulawants(s) )

    The truth value of this will also be fulfilled if she wanted both puzzles, as, indeed, any acquisitive toddler might. However, if your request presupposes exclusive disjunction:

    ( paulawants(b) p ⊕ q paulawants(s) )

    her reply will not represent the truth value if she wanted both puzzles. This is a failure of language than of logic. If the Hungarian language has a separate words for “or” and “exclusive or”, which would help a lot!


  2. Veronica Khokhlova said


    i love the “slightly-lingual-in-two-languages” definition.

    i’ve taught marta (who turns 2 today) the difference between big and small by pointing first at my own nose – mama’s nose bolshoi (in low-pitched voice, BAALSHOOOOI) – and then at hers – marta’s nose malenkiy (high-pitched, maaaaalenkiiiy).

    i’ve recently started recording her voice – on my cell phone, mainly – interviewing her – that’s what my father did when i was a kid – and i really love listening to those recordings and hope it’ll be as fun for marta when she grows up.

    paula is turning 2 sometime soon, isn’t she?

    best of luck to you and your family!

  3. http://jvdhj.livejournal.com said

    Hmmm…sounds to me like she’s just keeping the ways of women a mystery, as is her duty…even at her age! 🙂 Way to go, Paula!

  4. Andy H said

    gd: When she can talk properly I’m sure that she’ll explain her logic in exactly that way. 🙂

    veronica: thanks. Yes, Paula will be 2 in three weeks. Every day a new word, every day a new trauma 😉

    Thanks Julie. I didn’t know you had a blog! The things one discovers.

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