Children’s language games
This week’s Word of Mouth, the programme about language on BBC Radio 4, was devoted to the games children play with language. The presenter, Michael Rosen, and the contributors found out some of the rhymes and counting games children are currently using and compared them to ones they remembered from their own childhoods.
One interesting thing about children’s language games is that they are an oral tradition passed on from child to child, constantly evolving and adapting, with little or no adult involvement. Some of the games are very old and possibly preserve fragments of long-forgotten languages. This is an example of a vibrant, living tradition which seems to be as popular as ever, even though some of the people interviewed on the programme fear it’s dying out.
One point discussed on the programme was that it’s mainly girls who play the language games, especially the more complex ones involving rhymes, actions, skipping, etc. It was suggested that boys might not be able to remember them as well as girls.
Did you play any language games when you were a kid? Do you remember any of them?