Leningrad: Krasnaya gazeta, 1928. Item #344
96 pp.: ill. 20x15 cm. In original photomontage wrappers. Lacking spine and rear wrapper. Tears and small losses of the front cover, text block is loose, some pages with pale stains, 16 pages in the beginning with big tear and unprofessional restoration (paper and scotch; no loss of the text). Otherwise good.
First edition of the famous study. Wrappers and title page designed by V.P. Belkin.
Kornei Chukovsky (1882-1969) was writing for children and searching for inspiration among them, and so he started documenting their language really early. His notes became a book for the first time in 1928 where he describes particular qualities of preschooler’s speaking. He gathered hundreds of funny and unusual examples of children’s word-making. After the publication the writer asked readers to share his observations on the children’s language. Since then, for forty years, the post did not know rest: letters from parents, teachers, educators went by bags. What interesting is how the letters showed how the time changed from decade to decade. Later he added these materials to new editions of what became well known as «From Two to Five».
The book opens with a chapter on the children’s language, in which the author not only cites examples of «stupid nonsense», but also talks about the unconscious skill of each child who learns a huge number of new words and their elements. According to the writer, the idea of the book arose with him during the rest at the dacha near Sestroretsk. Listening to the conversations of children playing on the beach, Chukovsky came to the conclusion that their speech is not just entertaining, but also informative: it can be of interest to educators, psychologists, and linguists. Beginning in the 1920s, the writer «went to the kids»: he, like a naturalist studying natural phenomena, collected and systematized the material associated with the «stupid nonsense» of toddlers.
Evaluating the work of Chukovsky, the researchers came to the conclusion that his research in the field of children’s word-formation is a serious contribution to Russian linguistics. The author shows what role the prefix plays in the speech of babies (releasing, unpacking), how free the child separates it from the root, what is the peculiarity of using irregular verbs. All this proves that «children’s linguistic thinking coincides with the people’s thinking».
The text is accompanied by funny children’s cut out photographs.