Sunday Morning Exercise: Take “The Wug Test”

This is an amazing combination of fascinating and adorable.


by Nancy Rosenbaum, producer

Jean Berko Gleason is the mother of the “wug test” whose findings rocked the world of linguistics when they were first published in 1958. The test demonstrated that children as young as three or four can internalize complex grammatical codes no one has necessarily ever tried to teach them — like forming plurals — and apply these rules broadly, even to made-up words (like the adorable “wug” featured below) they’ve never heard before.

Below you’ll find the 27 delightful hand-drawn pictures that comprise the original wug test. Try them out with the kids in your life — or even by yourself. And tell us what they said that surprised you. What are they modeling or constructing on their own?

wug test - image 1 - this is a wug

wug test - image 2 - this is a gutch

wug test - image 3 - this is a man who knows how to spow

wug test - image 4 - this is a kazh

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