Literal-Minded

Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

Magnetic Syntax

Posted by Neal on November 9, 2004

Doug and Adam have been having fun with some large-print Magnetic Poetry words that we put on the refrigerator door. It turns out that you can actually use your Magnetic Poetry kit to create prose, and Adam especially liked this bit of magnetic prose that I constructed:

what did you want to put in the bad monkey

He read it through before we left the house this morning, and laughed all the way to the car. He repeated it several times during the day, as we went to his speech therapy appointment, from speech therapy to preschool, and from preschool back home. When we got home, he read it again while he was sitting in the kitchen having a snack.

So I decided I’d have some fun. I took the in and moved it to the right of the bad monkey, resulting in:

what did you want to put the bad monkey in

Adam read the new version, giggling, and I could almost see the wheels turning in his head: “Whoa, you can, like, move the words around and it’s still OK–but now it means something different!” Then he went to the refrigerator and spent the next minute or so moving the in from one side of the bad monkey to the other and back. You go, boy! Show those constituents who’s boss!

5 Responses to “Magnetic Syntax”

  1. Whoa — how old is Adam now? Four? I couldn’t read when I was four. And I didn’t have an autistic spectrum disorder, either.

  2. Anonymous said

    If YOU say it’s okay to end a sentence with a preposition then it must be okay to do so!

  3. Anonymous said

    In response to… oh, I guess Glen.

    I was reading when I was three, and it turns out that I’m an ASpie. Early reading isn’t especially uncommon in autistic kids – I have a friend who is undeniably hyperlexic, she was reading before she could speak, when she was two.

  4. LaDonna Rushing said

    Where did you get the large print magnetic poetry words. I’ve been all over the net.
    Thanks,
    L.

  5. Neal said

    Sorry, LaDonna, I just don’t remember.

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