Thursday, September 5, 2013
Life Lesson Month of September: Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi
Hello my precious Ellie, with all of your Ellie-isms!
Not only do I love to play with you each and every day, I also love to just sit and chat with you. It is during these imaginative conversations, serious conversations, sweet conversations and our question and answer seeking conversations that you have ‘Wowed me,’ ‘Delighted me,’ ‘Surprised me,’ and yes… ‘Stumped me’ at times too! And I particularly enjoy how you have created your own version of certain word pronunciations, which are quite unique I might add! Ellie, that led me to thinking of how different the English language is translated not only by children, but also by people of all ages located in different regions of the United States. I thought it would be fun to write about words that you have created as well as words that your Poppy (who is a native of Philadelphia, Pa.) pronounces and also myself (being a native of the Midwest – Wisconsin.) So here goes:
Life Lesson Learned #27: It is normal for most people to “tweak” the English language now and then, but what is important is that we understand the “tweaking.”
Ellie, the other day when you and I were spending time playing school at your house, I had to stop for a moment and wash something in the upstairs bathroom sink. You followed me in and asked if you could help me. Normally I would say yes but this time I hesitated, because I knew you were too short to reach the spickets and I couldn’t find anything nearby that would give you a boost (silly me for not realizing that you were already one step ahead of me!). As I began answering you with a, “How about next time El?”… You responded with, “Wait Mimi, I can help. I’ll go get my stoodle,” and off you ran. You got me there Ellie. Completely perplexed I answered you with, “Your what???” And that fast you returned with a big smile on your face and a response of, “My stoodle. It’s right here!” Sure enough, you carried into the bathroom what looked to be like a little black plastic box. You quickly opened it wide so that its legs snapped into place and set it down in front of the sink so that you could step onto your stool like a big girl to help me out. Ahhhhhhhh… the stoodle… I should have known!
On another day while I was hanging pictures in the master bathroom, you came in with a mouthful of pink bubblegum. Not wanting to chew it anymore, you asked me if it could be thrown out in the wastebasket. I answered you with a “Sure El, but place it in a tissue first so that it does not stick to the sides or the bottom of the can.” So you walked over to the far wall and asked me if you could use a piece of the paper-toilet to wrap it in instead. Ellie, I tried to stifle a giggle on that one but you caught me and asked me what I was laughing at. Not wanting to hurt your feelings I diverted the conversation by telling you that the pictures I just hung were crooked and looked silly! And thankfully my answer satisfied you for you agreed! Now you would think that since you call toilet-paper paper-toilet, then you would call paper-towel paper-towel. Nope. You flip-flopped that word too and call it towel-paper! You also call earphones phone-ears and Piano pinano! El, all of your Ellie-isms (and there are many) are truly endearing! To my ears they are becoming your Signature words.
As for Poppy, coming from Philadelphia he pronounces the words water and wash with an added ‘r’, changing them slightly to warter and warsh! He also says ‘hoagie’ (for the meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato on a roll sandwich) instead of Hero Sandwich or Sub! Another play on words from the northeast verses the Midwest are what Poppy and I call a carbonated drink. He will refer to it as Soda, and I have used the term Pop. El, Philadelphians also call running shoes Sneakers. Us Midwesterners refer to them as Tennies, which is short for Tennis shoes! Now remember Ellie, I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and Wisconsinites call that thing you drink from in a public place a Bubbler because the water “bubbles” forth from the fountain in an arch when you turn the nob! I am pretty sure that everyone else in the United States calls it a water fountain (go figure!). When I pronounce the word ‘root’ and ‘roof’ they rhyme with foot and woof. When Poppy says them, they rhyme with boot and goof. Changing the pronunciation of one simple word can really stump a person! That is what happened one time when I was a passenger in Pop Russell’s car. He parked next to a curb with a tree stump preventing my car door to open. When he asked me why I wasn’t getting out, I told him that there was a root (like in foot) in the way. Do you know what his response was Ellie? Yep. With a contorted and confused look on his face, he answered with, “A what????” Sound familiar? I had to explain by giving the definition of the word that was blocking my way and said, “You know Dad, the bottom part of the tree that is usually hidden underground!” Pop just laughed and said, “Oh, you mean a root!” (Like boot). Ellie… those types of words may not be Mimi-isms or Poppy-isms… but if I were to be honest with you, I do have one that was my Signature word for a long time. And that would be the word ‘kindergarten’, the place you are anxiously waiting to go to, but still have 2 years to wait! Anyway, for many, many years I pronounced it kidneygarden! Can you believe it? And no one ever corrected me on it until about 10 years ago! I am guessing that they stifled a giggle more than once before that and that’s ok. Now looking back, I too giggle because I realize that I massacred the word. Instead of referencing children entering into their first year of education… I apparently was referencing a bean, or rather many beans, growing out of a patch of ground! Yikes!
So I guess the lesson to be learned here Ellie is that the English language has been challenged, revised, and tweaked many times since its beginning. What is important is never to abuse it, but rather respect it. If something does not sound right, question it. If something doesn’t make sense, question it. The love of reading and the love of conversing with others will increase your vocabulary tenfold El, and if you accidentally ‘tweak’ a word now and then… well, it just becomes one of your character traits that make you who you are. Bright, Beautiful, and the Best!
I love you my little Linguist!