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The case of Helen Keller[edit | edit source]

The beginning of learning
Anne Sullivan . . . began to teach Helen to communicate by spelling words into her hand, beginning with “d-o-l-l” for the doll that she had brought Keller as a present. Keller was frustrated, at first, because she did not understand that every object had a word uniquely identifying it. [ . . . ] Keller’s big breakthrough in communication came the next month, when she realized that the motions her teacher was making on the palm of her hand, while running cool water over her other hand, symbolized the idea of “water”; she then nearly exhausted Sullivan demanding the names of all the other familiar objects in her world.

@ Wikipedia: Helen Keller

When 19 months old, Helen Keller became blind and deaf, and eventually dumb, so helplessly and hopelessly handicapped especially from the communication point of view. Nevertheless, Anne Sullivan began to teach almost 7-year old Helen Keller how to communicate by spelling words, one letter after another, into Helen’s little palm. After a month of frustration, Helen Keller thrillingly learned to have namely WATER the idea in mind such that coupled w-a-t-e-r the spelling on the one hand with water the object on the other. This was her, and perhaps is our, beginning of learning![1] And this must demonstrate the advantage of the triadic over dyadic nature of learning as well as speaking and hearing.

  1. See "the beginning of wisdom" Ogden and Richards mentioned in favor of interpretation.