Posts Tagged ‘Language’

I Feel This Is A Term The Business World Has Been Sorely Lacking

March 22, 2018

It started as an unfortunate typo of “Gotcha!” in a friendly business correspondence, but it became “Got’ka!”, which to me sounds like Klingon for “You are insufficiently incorrect for me to kill you . . . this time.”

Advertisements

But Kids Don’t Hear It That Way

November 4, 2016

English has a lot of odd “short form” phrases built into it; for example, “I don’t care anymore.”

When someone says that, it’s only in extreme cases that they mean they literally don’t care at all anymore.  Usually when someone says that, what they mean is some degree of “I don’t care (to talk about and/or deal with this) anymore (right now).”

But Only When They’re Both Old Enough To Roll Their Eyes At Me

April 22, 2016

So how am I going to address my daughter?

That’s easy.  If I can say, “Son, we need to talk,” to my son, I can say “Daughter, we need to talk,” to my daughter.  That was always my plan, it just struck me how odd it is that that’s not the norm, albeit not as odd as the whole “princess/prince” thing.

Of course during less formal times I’m sure to use a generous mixture of my preferred gender-neutral kid addresses of “kiddo,” “champ,” and/or “slugger” as I see fit just as I do with my son since I’m already in the habit.

. . .

And once, just once (probably), I plan to address my daughter and my son as “lesser spawn” so I can bid them to “attend your creator and master.”

A Trick Which Requires Multiple Sticks

April 21, 2016

Upon further reflection I realized that it sounds strange to me to address my daughter as “daughter” because in the gestalt culture I grew up in, daughters are generally addressed with pet names like “princess” instead.  And even though I suspect we could easily find offensive elements in how that cultural habit developed, before anybody get too offended by this, I’d like to point out that it would sound equally strange to me to address my son as “prince.”

So which is worse?  That sons are addressed as “son,” but not as “prince,” or daughters are addressed as “princess” but not as “daughter”?  It seems to me that somehow everybody ends up with the short end of the stick on this one.

It Just Sounds Strange

April 20, 2016

While the L Naming Issue has been resolved, there is one more ripple that came out of that issue.  One of my original thoughts was since I frequently address L(K) as “son” to clarify when I’m talking to him as opposed to about him, I could do something comparable with L(A) . . . but then I realized something.

Maybe this is just me, but while it sounds perfectly natural to me to say, “Son, we need to talk,” saying “Daughter, we need to talk,” makes me want to raise my voice so I can be heard all the way from the 1800’s.

Just one of those quirks of language and culture over time, I guess.

Everybody Else Got To Say Something Witty This Week; I Just Wanted To Be Included

September 4, 2015

Today while coming back from the hardware store, I was muttering darkly under my breath at the traffic congestion in the parking lot while L’s Mother was patiently explaining to him that the letter “t” in “depot” was silent.  “You’re not supposed to pronounce the ‘t’ at all,” she corrected.

“If you say so,” I said amiably, “I’ll be glad when all these ‘idios’ are out of my way then.”

Something To Lighten The Mood

August 4, 2015

While driving today, a bus made an uncannily whalelike sound as it screeched to a stop beside us, prompting Lala to announce, “I didn’t know buses spoke whale.”

“What language do buses speak?”  L. asked.

“Whale,” all the adults answered in unison.

“And what language do whales speak?” L. asked with a giggle.

“Bus,” we answered, again in unison.

“And what language is that?” L. persisted.

“This,” I answered, and did a poor attempt at a whale sound that sounded more like a macaw.  “Hang on, let me try that again,” I said, but, unfortunately, my second attempt also came out unacceptably birdlike.

“I speak it with an accent,” I explained.

I’m Just Saying

November 21, 2014

Of all the theories of language development I know are out there, here’s one I’ve never heard, but I think deserves to be considered:

One of the impetuses for language development, in particular the creation of new words, was the need for parents to communicate to each other their need to do things like go behind a tree in peace for five minutes or so without their children following them to see what they were doing.

Abbot And Costello Please Note

July 22, 2014

I want you to know, son, that I never fully appreciated how tricky the “me” vs. “you” concept could be until I watched you playing around with it. Of course if I point to myself and call myself “me,” then point at you and call you “you,” you are naturally going to point at me and say “me,” then point at yourself and say “you.” Since you laugh when you do this, I’m pretty sure you have the basic concept down at least, and that you’re just being funny.

At least, I hope so, otherwise I don’t think I helped matters any when I tried to clarify by saying, “No, I’m me and you’re you, but when you are the one talking, then you’re ‘me’ and I’m ‘you’ and . . . wait a minute . . . Let’s try that again!”

I Certainly Didn’t In High School

April 18, 2014

The other day the puppy drew blood from me. She didn’t mean to do it, of course; she was jumping up trying to get my attention and I was trying to teach her not to jump as one of her teeth caught some of the skin on one of my fingers. It was an accident, pure and simple. It hurt a little bit, but not much, and I wasn’t actually angry at her.

Then I realized I had just been handed a golden opportunity. Making sure L. was out of earshot, I looked the puppy directly in the eye and said, “You little [term for a female dog].”

Why did I do this, you might be asking?

Because I wanted to be able to honestly say I had used the term correctly at least once in my life.