Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Liberian Attempt at English


Maya loves words! She wants desperately to have a great big fancy vocabulary, but she doesn't really know how to use the words she's learning or how to express herself with more than ordinary words. So, she frequently makes up words.
Last week, a friend gave me some very nice shoes. I told Maya they were very expensive shoes and it was a generous gift. She said: Oooooooh, those are so nice! They're . . . antique!
I told her what antique means.
She said: Oh, I just use that word when I want to say that something is really nice.
Well it doesn't quite work that way, dear.

Yesterday, I came downstairs to find the kids huddled around Kyle in the kitchen. He was making sandwiches. I asked: What's so interesting here?
Maya: Oh, we're just telling Dad what consonants we want.
Kyle: You mean condiments.
Maya: Right, I meant continents.
Kyle: ConDIments.
Maya tried two more times before pronouncing it correctly.

Meanwhile, we're saving our vacation money to go on a truce. Maya's never been on a big ship before. It's very exciting.



~Stephanie said...


heartchild said...

That is so funny! That happens all too often at our house, too. Steve was running after Nathaniel and tickling him when he yelled out, "Stop! stop! I'm constipated!" We were slightly confused until we finally figured out that he meant that he was nauseated. :-)

Nealy said...

Don was reading this post aloud to me last evening and we were both laughing our heads off. Very funny post...and then I realized younger children often interject the wrong word as they struggle to increase their vocabularies. Ainsley (almost six) still uses "eventually," sometimes right; sometimes wrong. And I've been known to use the wrong word if the right word stubbornly remains on the tip of my tongue.

On the "She's So Funny" link, Maya is not far off on her perception that all blacks are Liberians, as Liberia was formed when the U.S. shipped many blacks back to Africa following the Emancipation Proclamation. Liberia's capital, Monrovia, was named for former U.S. president James Monroe. This explains why Liberians speak a form of English, combined from U.S. slaves' English (heard, not taught), King's English, Cajun, Caribbean, and Congo. Some eight generations later, many U.S. black citizens prefer to be called African-Americans (proud of their African heritage) while others prefer Blacks or simply Americans. Interesting stuff!

Edward and Gretchen said...

My Americans do the same thing. Sophie told her friends that I was permanent instead of pregnant. And any time I felt my stomach Jacob asked if I was having convulsions. I can't tell you how many times I had to correct him and tell him they were contractions. Ha, kids are so funny.