You’re probably thinking “What does that title mean and what does it have to do with grammar and punctuation and writing?” Well, today, I thought I’d take a little break from our standard posts. I don’t know about you, but with summer almost here I know I’m starting to look forward to long hot summer days and some vacation time. So, here’s a post from a lighter side.
I have two small grandchildren. The youngest is Liam who is two and is working very hard to learn to speak. Sometimes when I listen to his unique speech patterns, it gets me thinking how difficult the English language can be for someone to learn.
This morning, Liam came into the kitchen and demanded “somepin to eat!” After a short question and answer session, I finally figured out he wanted one of my delicious homemade blueberry muffins for breakfast. (OK – I really made them from a mix and not from scratch but he doesn’t yet know the difference.) I gave him one, left the kitchen, and within a few moments I heard him wail “Evie eat it my muffin!”
Well, “Evie,” whose real name is Eve, is our cocker spaniel. She learned very quickly to sit near Liam’s chair when he has food because Liam has the habit of holding things down off the table putting them right into the path of Eve’s mouth. So, when I heard Liam’s wail I knew Eve had eaten his muffin.
Rushing back to the kitchen, I had to laugh at the look on Liam’s face. His anguish was apparent. Eve on the other hand managed to look guilty and happy at the same time. Who knew that was even possible. I got Liam another muffin, disaster was averted, and peace returned to our household, at least for a few minutes.
I then got to thinking about how Liam had verbalized his message. We joke around the house that sometimes Liam sounds like Yoda – you know, the smallest but smartest of the Jedi knights. (If you’re not a Star Wars fan, you won’t get that one.)
He often puts his verbs before his nouns and gets his pronouns mixed up but he does manage to get his messages understood. When he says “me do it self” I know he means “I’ll do it myself.” Likewise when he says “Nana Caitlin pinch” he’s telling me his big sister just pinched him and he’s asking me to do something about it.
When you’re two years old, you can get away with jumbling your words and misusing pronouns substituting “me” for “I”. But when we’re out in the real world it’s not so cute sounding. Worse, when we publish anything in this digital world it tends to stick around and come back to haunt us. (If you doubt this, you haven’t been watching or reading the news lately.)
I’d love to hear examples of toddler-ese from some of our readers. It’s fun to hear them and it’s helpful to write them down, if only so you’ll remember them and can use them to torture the poor kids later in life!
I’m around for Liam to help him learn how to put his words together into sentences that everyone will understand. And at ProofreadNOW.com we’re here to help you with your words, sentences, and documents. I love what we do because I know we can all use a little help sometimes. If you haven’t tried us out yet, I hope you will.
Here’s to a great summer!