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Technonanny blog 61 Imaginative play

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Technonanny blog 61
Imaginative play

One of Halliday’s seven functions suggested for child language is the

imaginative function: telling stories and jokes, creating imaginary worlds, etc.
Comment on the children’s use of language for this function.

CONTEXT: Louise’s (aged 5.1) American cousin Lanna (5.10) has come for a short visit. They haven’t met for a year. [See transcripts of Lanna and Lu playing witches the previous year.]
Technonanny has taken the two girls to a playground in their grandmother’s village. There are all sorts of adventure playground equipment – a ‘zip’ swing, a bridge and climbing frames, as well as ‘baby’ swings. T has put the voice recorder in Louise’s pocket. This is the first of several hours’ play.
Rough transcript

T: we could play the monster game or troll game I might get pictures of you

Lu: can’t we just play

T: or just play yeah

[break to cut muffled noises]

Lu: can I have a go at that zip thing so I can do it even gooder

T: what rip thing sure let me put my things …


Lu: don’t know about that bu-ut… if I was 6 I could be older than my friend

Lanna: they won’t come in the baby swing

Lu: hey watch do you want me to to push you (laughs) you’re like my kid

(baby sound)

Lu: OK let’s do this

Lanna: let’s do this ??


Lu: Hey let’s play monsters and you’re the monster

T: I’m not sure if I want to be a monster

Lanna: I’m just ? real ?? head in

Lu: could somebody get me out

mm hmm

Lanna: ?? jump

T: Hurray

Lanna: ?? my baby

Lu: you need to be the monster under the bridge

T: well I might have to collect all my stuff in a minute


Lu: I’m gonna be Dora and you’re Lisa

Lanna ?? older ought to be but ?? wasn’t born yet (6) and I kept it a secret the troll

Lu: gram!

Lanna: I have a baby

T: ??

Lanna: shall I eat try and eat it no no no mamma?? trickin em wow that’s a long way

Lu: I can do it

Lanna: well what if monster gets my baby ?? troll

Lu: well what if I carry it and ?? do it at the same time

Lanna: ?? stay on ??


Lanna: why do you have a phone in your pocket why do you have this in your pocket

Lu: my gran said I need it

Lanna: why may I see it what is it for

Lu: it’s to film you and me () you’re not getting your stuff you’re phoning somebody

Lanna: pretend baby ?? pretend a troll grabbed her ??

Lu: no how about pretend an invisible troll got me you go under the bridge

T: I don’t want to go under the bridge …

Lanna: Dora watch out a troll’s under there an invisible troll ( 2) pretend he got you

LU: no pretend I was too fast

Lanna: yeah me too

Lu: pretend I …

Lanna: Hi Dora

Lu: come on get under the bridge

Lanna: OK baby wants to ?? baby school

Lu: but it’s too low (6) Lisa what if she just went (3) come on there it is

(bridge squeaking ?sounds)

Lu: come on get under the bridge

T: where is Lanna

Lu: she’s just dropping baby at her baby school (12) well can’t you just play the real game

Lanna: OK

Lu: get under the bridge (5) you need to say ( ) no you don’t put your hands I’m not

sposed to see you (4) I’m not sposed to hear you or see you (6) maybe it’s the

other way

Lanna: yeah (11) I’m going over there see my baby

Lu: OK (11)

Lu: and that troll is a meany baby

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