Saturday, 12 January 2013

They say that virtue is its own reward, but this is not necessarily so. However, so far I am slightly suffused with virtue, because I have walked every day. That is only three times, mind.  When the heat wave comes back, this might not continue.

Yesterday's was a long walk. Down to the foreshore, under the bridge to the park, past the grandchildren's favourite playground, and further into untrodden (by me) paths. Finally I found the way back to civilisation as we know it, ie the familiar territory.  It was quite early when I set out, and it was a very different experience from my first walk. Every person, and often their dogs, was out walking. Much faster than me, but they were all considerably younger. With their dogs and their iPods. (I forgot all about mine: I must become trendier!) And they all looked so fit and the overweight were not frequently to be seen.

Today I walked a  bit later, and took a different route. Down to the adjoining suburb. Firstly I had to go the market, which I do every Saturday morning, to buy my flowers (one of the stepdaughters included in her affidavit my regular purchase of flowers as evidence of what a bad wife I was), my whole grain sour dough, and my vegetable. That all having been done, and breakfast eaten, I set out down the main street, ignoring any tempting buses that happened to pass my way.

This route goes past lots of shops, most of which I use for a mild dose of window-shopping. However I did go into a shop, half way along the route, and tried on lots of things, and managed to find a nice cool cotton dress. At half price - how gratifying. It is quite fetching. With all the hot weather, clothing needs to provide some ventilation.

I continued on to the other market, which is much trendier, and not at all foodie. However, this market was very scant on stalls - too early in the summer, evidently, and I set off for home. A few bus stops on, a bus arrived and I cravenly took advantage of it.

Not much else is going on. I seem to spend too much time looking for things which I had only a minute ago. This certainly uses up the time available, more's the pity, because as a rule I have other plans for said time. This evening I have been trying to remember in which year I visited Urbino. The photo albums might reveal this but this takes time. I open albums and wonder where all these photos were taken. Note to self: get better organised. What I should have been doing all those years ago was to make notes of what I did, and  when - in other words a trip diary, such as I saw other people doing, all the time. Sometimes it seems that there is no end to the things with which I can reproach myself, useless endeavour though this be.

Never mind. I shall cease to vex myself with all this and go back to one of the books I am presently reading. It is Planet Word, by J P Davidson, which accompanied a BBC programme, which I never saw, on the story of language.

I have always been fascinated by language, and its varied history, grammar, usage, idioms, cliches, and so on and so forth.

How babies and young children learn language is particularly fascinating. There are some people, men, generally, who sneer at baby talk, mother to baby, and the babbling and gradual acquisition of the ability to make sounds. What such sneering people have failed to understand is that is that from the time of a baby's birth, the parents, mostly the mother, talk to the baby, teach it, explain things to it. Oh, what's the matter? There, there, Let's get you up. Ooh, you're hungry! Let's get you fed. There, that's better, isn't it! You play Boo with babies, teach them to clap hands, etcetera. It is reciprocal learning and development.

And so on and so forth. The baby makes a sound, and has the sound repeated to it. Parent and baby learn from each other. Bub, bub, bub, mum, mum, mum, dad, dad, dad. Etcetera.
And babies absorb the structure of language. Not merely the elementary words but the patterns, the verb tenses, the grammatical structure, the pronouns.

My second child was an early talker. At the age of 13 months, she suddenly came out with sentences, She said, I'm standing up, and then 'I dropped it, Pick it up! (Bossy child!) She always used correct grammar. Her older sister and younger brother followed the usual pattern of learning to talk, with single words, and referring to themselves by their names.

We talk to ourselves, true, but talking to each other is much better.


molly said...

Happy New Year to you too Persi! I'm sensing a fine thread of optimism through this post----hope this will be a grand new year for you! walking is good, best exercise around, if you stick with it!
I too am fascinated by language in all forms. When we lived overseas I was always in awe of small children who babbled so effortlessly in the languages I was so laboriously toiling to grasp!

Pam said...

I'm that wicked wife also. Oops.

We walk a lot but then it's not often hot here. And I can't say we're thin...

Elephant's Child said...

If the smaller portion and I were married I would also be a wicked wife. And he a wicked husband since he also buys flowers. How ridiculous.

Congratulations on your walking. I did one (out of necessity) today and am a recoving grease spot as I type.

Relatively Retiring said...

There's something very special about walking. I seldom actually want to do it, but am always glad that I did. As I no longer have a dog I try to take one or two neighbours out for an hour every morning.

Anonymous said...

I did not keep my resolution to walk every day ... here I am, 17 days into not keeping my promise to myself. I do try to move as much as possible, though. Laying on the floor having a temper tantrum (kicking my legs) does not count, though, does it ...