March 30, 2011

The essence of conversation, revealed...

... by the complete absence of meaningful words.



These twin boys say nothing but "da da da" — call The Police — but the gesture and expression are elaborate and vital. They even get each other's jokes.

(The mother blogs here.)

65 comments:

Triangle Man said...

I've watched this four times now and it is fascinating and amusing. It seems everyone I know is posting it.

traditionalguy said...
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traditionalguy said...

I enjoyed that very much. Thanks.

paminwi said...

I think what is interesting is sometimes you hear their "da da da" raised at the end as in the form of a question and sometimes it ends lower as in the form of a statement.

Peter said...

By referring to these utterances as "meaningless," Ann clearly indicates that she is opposed to the evolution of the meaning of words -- and probably to freedom of speech as well!

The nanny state soon follows, literally.

Da da da!
Peter

P.S. The debate is obviously about the propriety of the righthand brother walking around with only one sock. :')

John Burgess said...

The leftist is warning the rightist that if he doesn't get with the program and find that sock, he'll never get into a T1 law school.

Robert Cook said...

This is so cute that only someone with a heart full of vinegar could not be amused and touched...and amazed at the wonder of the human creature.

I suspect they're imitating the gestures and vocal tones they see and hear when their parents or other adults converse.

chickelit said...

This is so cute that only someone with a heart full of vinegar could not be amused and touched...and amazed at the wonder of the human creature.

What ever happened to HDHouse? Something about these two reminded me of him....

MadisonMan said...

Makes me miss those days with my kids and their friends. Those are two cute kids.

EDH said...

Maybe they are just waiting to receive their actual talking points from Chuck Schumer?

madAsHell said...

I believe much of the performance is driven by parent mimicry.

I know that my salty language was echoed back to me.

My daughter teaches English to 3 and 4 year old students in Korea. She over-reacted once, and said "OH MY GAWD!!".....within 15 minutes the entire classroom had mastered the phrase, and began applying it to all situations.

AJ Lynch said...

Very cute- I thing they were in agreement that they both love boobies and can't wait til they get their drivers' licenses.

Fred4Pres said...

I was more entertaining than any of the Sunday morning news-talk shows.

Original Mike said...

Da da da da, da da da!

Original Mike said...

I think the 2 socker is telling his brother that the Green Bay Packers are the Champions of the World!

Fred4Pres said...

Funny stuff. I have heard twins do that a lot.

My first was a da da da-er. My second and third did not do it nearly as much. But we had no twins.

EDH said...

Also notice how, especially for twins, they respect each other's personal space in terms of no physical contact.

Non verbal Communication is usually understood as the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless messages. i.e., language is not the only source of communication, there are other means also. Messages can be communicated through gestures and touch (Haptic communication), by body language or posture, by facial expression and eye contact. Meaning can also be communicated through object or artifacts (such as clothing, hairstyles or architecture), symbols, and icons (or graphics). Speech contains nonverbal elements known as paralanguage, including voice quality, rate, pitch, volume, and speaking style, as well as prosodic features such as rhythm, intonation and stress. Dance is also regarded as a form of nonverbal communication. Likewise, written texts have nonverbal elements such as handwriting style, spatial arrangement of words, or the physical layout of a page.

However, much of the study of nonverbal communication has focused on face-to-face interaction, where it can be classified into three principal areas: environmental conditions where communication takes place, the physical characteristics of the communicators, and behaviors of communicators during interaction.

Proxemics: physical space in communication
Proxemics is the study of how people use and perceive the physical space around them. The space between the sender and the receiver of a message influences the way the message is interpreted The perception and use of space varies significantly across cultures and different settings within cultures. Space in nonverbal communication may be divided into four main categories: intimate, social, personal, and public space.

The term territoriality is still used in the study of proxemics to explain human behavior regarding personal space. Hargie & Dickson identify 4 such territories...

Pete the Streak said...

The origins of the Secret Language of Men.

traditionalguy said...

But the "Men in shorts" faux pas is being taught by these sartorially challenged parents.

Hank Rearden_WI said...

It's the recreation of the old Archie/Meathead skit - A sock & a sock & a shoe and a shoe, vs. a sock & a shoe and a sock & a shoe.

PatCA said...

I think too they are imitating each other and their parents. Adorable! How language begins....

A friend of mine was at a birthday party with her 2-yr-old. The other kids were a little younger, so when one would come up to him, he would say, "Do you talk?" and when the baby replied da, da, da, he would roll his eyes and walk away. Like, what a boring party, nobody talks

Charlie said...

Looks like Chuck Schumer receiving his talking points.

MisterBuddwing said...

By referring to these utterances as "meaningless," Ann clearly indicates that she is opposed to the evolution of the meaning of words -- and probably to freedom of speech as well!

The perfesser said "absence of meaningful words," which to my limited thinking does not equal "meaningless."

I also appreciated the reference to The Police, but what jumps to my mind is Trio's "Da Da Da." (Suddenly I have an urge to drive a Volkswagen...)

Dante said...

I am the father of two-year old twins. A girl and a boy. Scenes like this are common, yet precious every time.

David said...

Yeah, but can they tweet?

Paul Zrimsek said...

They're arguing about which one will grow up to marry this girl.

PaulV said...

It is Japanese. Sumo wrestlers in training. Not Sumi babies training to be attorneys.

WV; coning Am I coning you?

Pogo said...

Very sweet.

"I suspect they're imitating the gestures and vocal tones they see and hear..."

I dunno.
I suspect we are born with this capacity, that the ability is innate, modified by the particular language one is taught.

My daughter at age 3-4 used to write page after page of "words" and 'stories' that were just scribbles.

It was cute until she would ask me to read it to her.

Then it was hilarious, because she'd get mad at me.
'No! That's not what it says!'

bagoh20 said...

Isn't a lot of time in law school spent on language? It's still all just Da da da: da dada, dada da da, - da dada.

Duh!

Heather Bragg said...

Video could be a valuable resource for teachers trying to teach autism spectrum kids, or just social skills to dorks. A lot of communication is non-verbal--object lesson.

bagoh20 said...

It's like watching BloggingHeads.

ricpic said...

"Get outta my face."

"No, you get outta my face."

"No, YOU get outta my face."

Jeremy said...

It's amazing how similar the kid's conversation is to the daily discussions here at The Queen's teabagger gathering.

Both of them just keep repeating what the other one says, over and over and over and over and over and over...again and again and again and again.

ricpic said...

I'll bet they drain their mammalian ma's dugs dry.

kim said...

One-sock twin is wearing a match to Two-socks twin's left foot. Two-socks is telling one-sock that he had to wear this mismatched sock on his right foot because one-sock has the match to his left sock. One-sock thinks it's funny and wants to find the match to Two-socks right sock so both boys can match.

wv: bedermas

A "Shotgun" Gold said...

I thought Dadaism as a movement had died out before the 1930's.

The phrase, "complete absence of meaningful words" describes most of the political speeches I have heard.

MamaM said...

I love seeing this kind of expressive energy, connection and spirit revealed.

While much of their behavior may involve mimicry or the trying out of patterns, intonations and gestures previously experienced and recorded in their minds, the exchange between them involves a form of intensity, humor, mutuality and responsiveness that appears immediate and unique to the moment.

At the blog link, the post "Tree Hugging Toddlers" (Mar 19)brought more joy and wonder at the curiosity, exploration and problem solving expressed. Kudos to their mom for providing the nurture, boundaries and freedom necessary for them to flourish as they learn and grow.

michaele said...

Wish our politicians made this much sense.

The Crack Emcee said...

That's bullshit:

They're merely mimicking and enjoying the discovery of thought.

That's hardly a conversation. (They've seen people talk.) It's more like when humans try to put our thoughts and emotions on animals.

Some of you need to get a grip.

"The essence of conversation, revealed..."

The essence of delusional thinking revealed,...

sonicfrog said...

Well... i know a couple of twin who are going to grow up to be GREAT politicians....

sonicfrog said...

Next time I perform that Police song on stage, I'm going to reference this.

Godot said...

I'd be interested to know what Megan McArdle thinks about this subject.

_

Legosn Eggos said...
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Legosn Eggos said...

They're clearly discussing what a lot of us wonder about -- where the hell missing socks go. lol As a mom of twin sons (now 15, still best friends), this brings back fun memories of their spirited monosyllabic conversations.

Richard Dolan said...

It's a private language for two, and they seem quite comfortable in its usage. As with any language, meaning inhers in the usage and context more than the words. Kudos to the kiddoes.

republicanyankee said...

They are Jr. Sumo Wrestlers. The one on the left just won the last match and received a sock.

Notice the high leg moves. And the ritual salting of the ring.

The one on the left is saying, "Come on, lets Sumo". The one on the right says, "No, I dont' want to lose another sock".

peter hoh said...

Like Pogo, I suspect that a certain amount of this is innate.

There seems to be a lot of mimicry going on, which is a significant part of how we learn language. Unlike non-twins, twins get a lot of reinforcement from someone who is at the same developmental stage. This may be how twins develop their own "language."

It's interesting to see how much of the physical gestures are mimicked back and forth. Some behaviors are copied by the other almost immediately, while others don't generate a similar behavior.

It seems that the one on the right does all the laughing. Not sure what to make of that.

ricpic said...

I miss the twin brother I never had.

Kirstin said...

They used to be on "Ally McBeal."

cassandra lite said...
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Beldar said...

I disagree about the absence of words. Mr. One-Sock distinctly says "Up!" several times as he's lifting his right leg (sumo-wrestler style).

@ Crack Emcee: You may not think it a very deep or meaningful one, but you have to concede that they're communicating with one another. That's a conversation. And I actually disagree entirely with your assessment of the conversation's depth. Cumulatively such conversations, although not so well documented as this one, will likely turn into a lifelong relationship between twins with a closeness the rest of us can but envy. You're belittling that? Meh -- go apply to be the back-up Grinch in Whoville.

cassandra lite said...

Both have great comic timing. In any event, I understood a lot more of their conversation than I did of the president's speech the other night.

Methadras said...

That was awesome beyond words. The tones, the inflections, the questioning, the gestures and responses to those gestures was absolutely fascinating.

Clearly they have been discussing the finer points of Erkles quandary in Libya and the budget stalemate in Congress and coming to some level of conclusion. They should be hired immediately for their advisory skills.

Methadras said...

I do have to say though that this is a caption rich environment.

Almost Ali said...

Great video.

Kids, toddlers, even adults enjoy entertaining each other. That's what I see, two little performers alternately entertaining one another.

I did something similar with my grandson, talk gibberish back and forth before he could pronounce the words - then later, expressions, often alliterative and/or unusual.

Like when he was 3, and seeing the dinner his mother had just placed before him, he observed:

"Hey, what kind of deal is this deal?"
"Hey back, Deal-Boy, it's a broccoli deal deal," she replied.

Phil 3:14 said...

It's parallel play (note how they imitate each other's hand and foot gestures).

Kids under 3 (or so) can't do cooperative play. So if you believe a "conversation" is you get to talk for a while then I get to talk yes this is toddlers imitating conversation.

I'm thinking conversation is more than that.

Big Mike said...

... complete absence of meaningful words.

Absence of words that are meaningful to us, yes.

Kim said...

My mom said that my twin and I had our own special language when we were toddlers. Sadly, we barely speak to each other anymore.

Synova said...

It's meaningless but it is conversation, not imitation.

Conversation is a give and take between parties. One boy utters one "phrase" and the other rewards him with attention and response; the laugh or hand wave or both. An adult might say, "I heard a funny joke" or "Honey, I'm home." And then the other adult responds, often with eye contact in addition to verbally, or even with physical touch.

I'm trying to remember where I'd heard of some fellow who was applying a chemical-brain reaction to economic interactions, where we naturally want to conclude a market interaction with another person in a mutually satisfying way because we then get a little chemical brain boost reward.

It might be this guy: Paul J. Zak "In "Values and Value: Moral Economics," Zak provides a useful introduction to recent neuroeconomic findings. Tests on human physiology bear out Smith's theory of "fellow-feeling." First, "mirror neurons" in a subject's brain automatically fire when visualizing the motion undertaken by others (stimulus-response). Second, mental activity in the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain projects the beliefs and intentions of others by transference, much the way Smith theorized that we imagine ourselves in other people's shoes. And third, there is a corresponding response in the limbic region of the brain associated with emotions and behavior." (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Moral+Markets%3A+The+Critical+Role+of+Values+in+the+Economy.-a0225580523)

Mirror neurons? Presumably he's not claiming we act out the actions our brain mirrors, we only visualize it. The babies act it out. Plus they give-and-take, respond to the actions and voice of the other instead of just babbling on and wiggling or imitating something they saw Mom do.

Largo said...

If a troll makes a sound in a comment thread and nobody replies, does it still make a stink?

Well done everyone.

Largo said...

"""
Then it was hilarious, because she'd get mad at me.
'No! That's not what it says!'
"""

Pogo, that's priceless!

Robt C said...

Steven Pinker, in "The Language Instinct," writes about twins who (I forget why) were lacking any outside contact until they were about 20.
At first language experts just heard "da da da" giberish between them, but finally discovered that the twins had developed their own rich language, with syntax rules, a large vocabulary etc. As I recall, it was hard to teach them a "real" language.

AST said...

I think these two are destined to be media pundits. It sounds like an exchange on Hannity's show.

LL said...

Hey - who taped my March 2011 law faculty meeting?

I recognize the people speaking because their pants were full of shit.

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