Tarzan Learns About Pronouns!

In this scene from the classic 1932 film, Tarzan the Ape Man, Tarzan gets confused by pronouns. A pronoun is a function word that stands in for another noun. Pronouns have no meaning of their own. They take their meaning from context. The first‐person personal pronouns (I, me, myself) refer to the speaker. The second‐person personal pronouns (you, yourself) refer to the person to whom the speaker is speaking. Tarzan has trouble with this concept, possibly because he was reared by chimpanzees and therefore failed to learn grammatical principles in any language before he went through puberty. Of course, Cheeta the chimpanzee would never be able to figure out pronouns at all. Chimpanzees have never been able to grasp any grammatical concept.

I tried to find some other footage of Tarzan and Jane dialog, but all I could find was this scene where Tarzan tears off Jane’s evening gown and tosses her in the water, whereupon the two of them do a lovely underwater ballet. This movie was made right before the Motion Picture Association of America started enforcing the Hays Code, which banned nudity.