Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This long article chronicles a dispute about the ownership of the 'wug', a cute creature created by Jean Berko Gleason in 1958 to show that children generate their own pluralization rule. It has a little of everything, even an icky contribution from Steven Pinker. For me, the main takeaway comes late in the story as people started creating their alternative 'open' creatures to replace the wug in linguistics experiments. I'm particularly concerned about the the bnick, an anthropomorphic asterisk created by Nathan Sanders. I want to pluralize it as 'bnicki', not 'bnicks'. What would children do? Would they all agree on a plural for the bnick? Is the whole hypothesis allegedly proven by wug studies false?

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Copyright 2020
Last Updated: Oct 28, 2020 03:58 a.m.