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Children Speak in Reverse

Read this before listening: A note regarding reverse speech audio samples.

Children reveal wisdom and understanding beyond their years in reverse. David John Oates’ research has demonstrated that children actually begin forming meaningful phrases in reverse before they learn to speak forward. Hearing your children speak in reverse can be both heart warming and troubling as their feelings and perceptions become clear.

 

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Candid video, with people speaking unselfconsciously, provides the perfect conditions for clear hidden messages. Studies and experience have shown that spontaneous conversation contains many more hidden messages than prepared speech.

 

My daughter at three years old pointed to the camcorder I was holding as my wife was talking, and directed her to “Tell them, tell them.” Ever the proud father, I commented later that it was clever of her to understand that the camcorder provided an audience and to tell her mother to speak to them. Her reversal amazed me even more.

Forward:
Tell them, tell them
Reverse:
Memories, memories

The hidden message demonstrates that a three year old understood, at least unconsciously, that the camcorder was able to store memories for future viewing.

Later she called our potbelly pig, Clover, to come play.

Forward:
Clovie, Clovie
Reverse:
Here he comes, here he comes

On Christmas day she gets the toy she asked for.

Forward:
I got the whale
Reverse:
Water was it

My older daughter at eight years was striving to get my wife's attention.

Forward:
Liar, liar, pants on fire
Reverse:
Hurry up now see, hurry up

In this clip their cousin talks about fish with his father.

Forward:
We saw a very; we have a very small one
Reverse:
I love you