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, February 26, 2007

Early bilingual speech: Tiarnan's translations

Two weeks ago, Tiarnan did something I have never heard of a baby doing.

He was then twelve months old. His mother, Syahidah, said to him: "kuching". He immediately said: "cat" - a translation of the Malay word into English. He is making explicit his awareness of the two languages - and stating that they share words with common meaning, though different sound.

He continued this new behaviour later in the day as I was putting him to sleep. I was carrying him up the stairs and I said "tido" to him. He immediately said: "bed". He said it in such a way that he seemed to be correcting me, for he knew that I didn't speak Malay, normally, so why was I using it on him now?

It was notable that the translation came immediately upon the utterance of the word: as if he were playing verbal ping pong - I say a word, he says the translation. It is clear that he is building two good representations of language, with hints at a third - but more of that another time.

(If you would like to read more of Tiarnan or his gifted brothers, Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and two months, or Fintan, three, please go to: I also write of gifted education, intelligence, IQ, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children, in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 5:14 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's kucing mr cawley..not kuching.kuching was an old spelling.anyway,good try. :)

wish u all the best on learning bahasa!

10:35 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks for updating my spelling...I must be showing my age!

Kind regards

11:11 PM  

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