Small Talk


November 28th, 2011

Kids are funny, how they're so literal. I was telling a story at the dinner table and saying I couldn't "stand it anymore," and Olivia said helpfully, "Then sit down!"

Another example: I said, "I hear it's raining in town. " I was trying to decide if it would be better to try for a beach in the suburbs, or in Honolulu proper. Olivia said, "You can hear the rain from here?"

I laughed and explained it's just a manner of speech, and that I had watched Paul's KITV weathercast before I left the house. In hindsight, I should have just said yes and let her think I had super-Mommy hearing, to go with the eyes in the back of my head.

I'm sure as a young child's cognitive ability increases, so will the level of understanding of the different meanings of a word and the complexities of the English language. Until then, perhaps a more thoughtful choice of words is best.

Good thing I didn't talk about putting any animals "to sleep." How freaked out she would be at her own bedtime.

What funny linguistic mix ups have you had?

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2 Responses to “Literally”

  1. Titus:

    After college, I worked at a car rental place. Two of my bosses were talking. One was pregnant and invited the second to her baby shower, but she just said "shower". The second, from Taiwan and not in complete command of the English language exclaimed, "Hell, no!"

  2. KAN:

    The children's book "Amelia Bedelia" deals with this literalness. Amelia, a new maid, is told to dust the furniture, draw the drapes, and a few other tasks. She spreads the lady of the house's dusting powder on the furniture and draws a picture of the drapes. It's a good thing Amelia's pie-making abilities help her to keep her new job.

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