Study Guide

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh Language and Communication

By A. A. Milne

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Language and Communication

In Winnie-the-Pooh, communication and language are two very different things. That is, communication does not always require language, and language doesn't always communicate anything. That's why we need Shmoop to help us understand literary critics, for example. Milne is brilliant at forcing us to try and figure out what the meaning is behind verbal and non-verbal communication. But really, that's what all language is about, right? 

Questions About Language and Communication

  1. What's the difference between what the characters say and what they mean?
  2. How do the foils, who know each other very well, communicate differently than characters who are not so close? E.g. Pooh and Piglet vs. Pooh and Kanga.
  3. Is there a difference between written and spoken language in the book?                   
  4. What gives a word meaning for Milne? What about for you? What kinds of things do you associate with a word like "forest," "play," or "ther?"

Chew on This

Everyone has a different definition of any given word thanks to different past experiences. Milne's "bear" is different from yours, so you can't really relate to these stories as much as you want to.

Milne's linguistic ambiguity (unfinished sentences, nonsense words, wordplay) is probably too complex for his young readers to understand. He's writing more for adults than for kids. 

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh Language and Communication Study Group

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