On Wednesday, November 5, 2003, at 03:28 PM, Iain E. Davis wrote:

> At 03:34 AM 11/4/2003, you wrote:

>> Interesting. Yet little children who boast about how big
>> they are use cardinal numbers (in English and Israeli Hebrew).
>> Even earlier, when they can barely count, little kids who
>> hold up fingers to tell how old they are, are also using
>> cardinal numbers. Possibly because kids learn cardinal
>> numbers before ordinal numbers. Would this be a
>> language universal?
> I don't know.  The choice may be culturally driven.  Given the age of the
> typical parent, I'm assuming the parents (the child's primary source of
> information on "how to talk") are going to use cardinal numbers.
> In fact, it is my experience that children are almost taught to say "I am
> four years old" even before they really know what "I am four years old"
> means.

Yep - my granddaughter proudly says she's three & a half.  But I doubt
that she has fully grasped the concept - particularly the "half" bit.

I'd be mighty surprised if she told me she was in her 4th year!  Indeed,
I don't recall her ever using ordinal numbers in any context yet.  She's
only now getting used to cardinals.

> They just know that it is an appropiate response to "How old are
> you?".

'sright   :)

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