Cry of an enfant sauvage

By | July 24, 2006

Cry of an enfant sauvage

For five years, Oxana Malaya lived with dogs and survived on raw meat and scraps. When she was found she was running around on all fours barking.? 

… She bounds along on all fours through long grass, panting towards water with her tongue hanging out. When she reaches the tap she paws at the ground with her forefeet, drinks noisily with her jaws wide and lets the water cascade over her head.

Up to this point, you think the girl could be acting – but the moment she shakes her head and neck free of droplets, exactly like a dog when it emerges from a swim, you get a creepy sense that this is something beyond imitation. Then, she barks.

The furious sound she makes is not like a human being pretending to be a dog. It is a proper, chilling, canine burst of aggression and it is coming from the mouth of a young woman, dressed in T-shirt and shorts.

… “Her language is odd. She speaks flatly as though it’s an order. There is no cadence or rhythm or music to her speech, no inflection or tone. But she has a sense of humour. She likes to be the centre of attention, to make people laugh. Showing off is quite a surprising skill when you consider her background. …

The definition of a feral child (or “wild child”) is one who, from a very young age, has lived in isolation from human contact, unaware of human social behaviour and unexposed to language. The most famous was Victor of Aveyron (1797) portrayed in the 1969 film The Wild Child by Fran?ois Truffaut. – telegraph

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