It’s All in the Pronunciation

I’ve got this big-brained kid, and he started talking clearly right around his first birthday. Other than sleep, Lego, and reading, he hasn’t stopped much since.

He suffers from one of the marks of the voracious reader: He will frequently try to throw words into conversation that he’s read, and understands, but has never heard pronounced.

Some of these are generational, and for that he can be forgiven.

After he discovered Guitar Hero at a friend’s house, he came home and asked to download a song by Pat “Ben-Are-Tar”.

“Who?” I asked. He had no hesitancy in repeating it: “Ben-Are-Tar”.

I was still quizzical.

“Mom,” he said. “I think she’s in your generation. She sang ‘Hit Me with Your Best Shot'”.

The best thing about this syndrome of his is that complete lack of hesitancy. He has no qualms about diving right into a word, and no shame at all when he’s corrected, or when everyone around him dies laughing. He simply files away the correct pronunciation in that head of his and moves on.

He recently made a reference to a truck’s “chase-ess,” which left several people wondering until I – having learned to translate – said “chassis”.

“Right,” he said, continuing his story.

And, in a conversation about pencils, I made reference to the iconic Ticonderoga pencil brand.

“Really?” he said, without missing a beat. “Ticonderoga? I always thought it was Ticken-der-ooga.”

My favorite of all of these will be the time he came home from school and said one of the older kids had called him a “douche bag”.

“What did you do about that?” I asked, knowing he’s pretty easy going.

“I called him an “ah-nee-mah nozzle,” he said.

It took me a moment, but I was soon howling with laughter.

“What did he say?,” I choked out.

“He just looked at me with a blank expression,” my son said. “By the way, Mom, what’s a ‘douche bag'”?


5 responses to “It’s All in the Pronunciation

  1. ahhh kidlets … they can’t be beaten for the wordification … i used to think the first two lines of cliff richard’s song ‘congratulations’ was ‘congratulations, and silver raisins’ … made perfect sense to me

    • I know a newspaper reporter who quoted someone in a story as saying “this is the crossed-eyed bear,” when the councilman had really said “this is the cross I bear,” and another who kept referring in obits to “massive Christian burial,” meaning Mass of Christian Burial. But those were adult writers, not 12-year-olds!

  2. Wow, thanks for the morning laugh… kids really can be so much fun.

  3. My daughter is much the same way with the only difference being, she hates it when people laugh if she says something that was unintentionally funny.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing!

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