A Child’s Idea of Language Learning

Mitla Ruina

This is a true story told by Maxwell Lathrop, who lived and worked for many years among the Purepecha (Tarascan) people in Michoacan. 

Two Tarascan Indian boys were overheard talking together by a low open window of our adobe house:

“Alice is going to the United States. Her grandmother is coming to help her mother take the four children on the train.”

“When are they leaving?”

“First Alice is going to have an operation..., on her throat..., in the hospital.”

“An operation? What for?”

“The doctor is going to take Tarascan out of her throat..., and put in English.”