The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Monday, November 20, 2006

A trilingual conversation with baby Tiarnan

Three days ago, we were watching television. Nothing surprising about that. However, it was one of those Hollywood movies of Good vs Evil. Evil has to be someone and in the era in question, it was usually Russia. So a man speaks Russian on the TV. Tiarnan Hasyl Cawley, nine months, looked surprised. Never had he heard anyone speak so. He at once tried to copy the sounds he had heard, and managed to evoke their general sense, if not their specifics.

My wife then asked me to say something in Russian. I protested that I could not, but then remembered that I could. I asked, in Russian, "What would you like to drink?"

Tiarnan focussed on me, curiously, at this sudden access of oddness by his father. I told my wife what it meant, she repeated the meaning in English and, as if understanding that the game was to use a different language, Tiarnan answered in Malay: "Water."

It was hilarious, but also a little spooky. For he had grasped what was happening. I spoke a Russian question. My wife translated it to English - and he answered in Malay. The implicit rule of use a different language had been understood by him.

Nothing in all the Universe is more wonderful than a baby.

(If you would like to read of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, and his gifted brothers, please go to: I also write of child prodigy, child genius, savant, in particular mathematical savant, the creatively gifted, gifted children and gifted adults in general.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:45 PM 


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