As a PhD student, I took a class in animal behaviour. I didn’t work very hard and have forgotten most of it. However, since I became a father, I have been thinking more about this class. One of the papers I read was the classic “The social function of the intellect” by Nicholas Humphrey, first published in 1976. The paper is packed with insightful analogies. For example, Humphrey offered an interesting interpretation of Robinson Crusoe.
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I know that overgeneralisation is a controversial topic in the study of language acquisition, but here is an example: Zoe (4yo) used to say “even better”, but recently she started to say “even gooder”.

An interesting topic I studied in an animal behaviour class was about the concept of culture in animal societies. I started to think about the transmission of culture recently because I noticed that my 4yo daughter Zoe’s childcare playgroup has developed their own culture. When Zoe started to use a new word, I used to assumed that she learned it from the childcare educators. But recently I noticed that the children are teaching each other.
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We were watching a gun fight scene on TV. Zoe (4yo) asked “Why are there so many pew-ers?” Me: “what’s a pew-er?” She answered: “The thing that goes pew pew”.

Zoe is at an age (4yo) where she can randomly pick up really strange expressions. After biting into her lunch, she declared “it tastes like freedom! America!”. Apparently she learned it from a children’s cooking video on YouTube.