LINGUIST List 11.2744

Mon Dec 18 2000

Sum: Playground Language

Editor for this issue: Marie Klopfenstein <>


  1. Dick Hudson, Playground language

Message 1: Playground language

Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 10:23:38 +0000
From: Dick Hudson <>
Subject: Playground language

Dear Colleagues,
A couple of weeks ago I broadcast a query about research on children's
playground language (meaning the language used by pre-adolescents in play,
such as truce-terms, skipping rhymes and so on). I received an astonishing
number of replies (from 40 people) which produced an equally astonishing
wealth of bibliography. The full bibliography (five pages plus two pages of
suggestions, plus the list of sources) is on my web site at:

Apart from the almost total lack of overlap between the suggestions from
different people, the most striking feature of the bibliography is the
amount of recent and current research that it reveals. The individual
references dated since 1990 are by the following: Winifred and Laurie
Bauer, Maggie Broner, Guy Cook, David Crystal, M. Curtis, June Factor,
Marjorie Goodwin, Allison James, Ronald Macaulay, Janet Maybin, Greg Myers,
Iona Opie, Ben Rampton, Alison Sealey, Brian Sutton-Smith, Elaine Tarone,
M. Whitehead. There is a recent edited collection by Julia Bishop and Mavis
Curtis. The work I have been told about is mainly based in the UK, the USA,
Australia and New Zealand, but the phenomenon of pre-adolescent language is
clearly not an anglo-saxon speciality. This looks (to me at least) like a
research area that is ready for international attention. 

I hope colleagues find the bibliography helpful. On a personal note, I
believe this research is crucial to an understanding of childhood
development both in language and in social development, and also to
education (since the period covered coincides with the start of formal

Dick Hudson
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