The Old Irish Tig: Chasing Games and Counting Out Rhymes in the Schools’ Collection


Monica M. Marion (Indiana University)

The game variously known as “Tig,” “Tag,” or “Tib” by English speakers is one of the simplest and most widespread children’s games. The student collectors of the Irish Schools’ Collection recorded over 600 descriptions of the game. This paper explores variation in Tig, using a combination of statistical measures and close reading. The game’s flexible framework allows for a complex linking of physical, linguistic, and intellectual components, including the oft-studied counting-out rhyme. This large and well-documented collection offers an unprecedented chance to examine the process of variation in transmission. Qualitative and quantitative comparisons reveal how imagination, everyday life, and the requirements of the game shape how children play.

Part of 12-07 "The Games I Play": Children's Games in 1930s Ireland, Monday, October 18, 11:15 am–12:45 pm