Lessons in frame semantics from a 2 year old

Last week a 2 year old I know learned about pirates. She learned they sometimes wear patches, often say "Arrhh!", and on rare occasions carry a parrot on their shoulder.

It's fun to test my daughter’s learning by asking questions like "What's a pirate say?"—to which she responds with the heartiest "Arrhh!" you've ever heard from a toddler while holding a hand over an eye.

But today I was reminded of just how interwoven her little brain is working to connect all she's learning.

We were reading an ABC book where every page represented a certain letter and used two picture examples to showcase what words began with that letter. When we got to "p" there was blank and a parrot. Immediately she looked up at me, covered her eye and gave a hearty "Arrhh!"

I was shocked, and have to admit, it took me a second to make the connection she was making. My 2 year old had just showed me yet again how we humans rely on frames to make sense of the world we experience.

Patches, "Arrrhhh!", and parrots were three features we'd taught our daughter to associate with pirates. And so when one feature was activated, the associated features followed suit.