Friday, November 8, 2013

Silly Little Linguist

Ever since I was a kid, I was over-analytical with people's language. For example:
  • When we girls would argue in elementary school and the other would end with "I'm not your friend anymore!" I would reply, "You can't decide who my friends are! I decide whom to call and not to call my friends. You can only say that I won't be your friend anymore." I now know that they meant they wouldn't act like my friend anymore, not playing or talking with me.
  • In elementary school, kids loved to tell jokes and riddles. One was, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" The answer was, "None. A woodchuck can't chuck wood!" I would reply, "But you said if it could, meaning it has the capability in this hypothetical situation." Okay, so I didn't use those exact words, but you get my point.
  • My teacher in first and second grade made us spelling dictionaries so we wouldn't bother her every time we couldn't spell a word. Only if the word wasn't there could we ask her to add it in. I would think (and I know this one is not unique to me), If I could look up the word in the dictionary, I wouldn't be asking for your help spelling it!
I also liked to make up my own words. My dad and I would make up silly names too. I still do both with my babies: I sing nonsense words to common tunes, like "If You're Happy and You Know It," and give the boys ridiculous nicknames. Even my dozens of stuffed animals had unique names, and I remembered them all. Of course, I had enough sense to give my boys normal names, but I'll embarrass them when they're older by calling them by their nicknames in front of their friends!

[June 2014 update] More examples I remembered:
  • When I was 3 or 4, I asked my mother if I was a human. She answered yes. I thought about it and then replied, "No, I'm a hugirl!"
  • When teachers and other authority figures would say, "I don't want to hear any excuses," I thought they should still allow for students to explain whatever happened. An explanation is not an excuse, just the reason for the action (or inaction), which the teacher could then judge to be a valid excuse or not. An excuse is exactly that: something that excuses the (mis)behavior. An explanation is simply an explanation.


DAD said...

UNCLE SSH and CLARE and JINK PUPILSON and JEFFRENS all liked your story

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