Monday, May 17, 2010

A Rose by Any Other Name ...

My family spent 5 years living in England when I was young.

There is a small language barrier between English English and American English; for example you order chips at McDonald's when you want french fries.

And when you want an eraser, you ask for a rubber.

At least I did, after we moved back to the States. I was in 6th Grade and walked up to my U.S., male, teacher and asked him for a rubber. (For the record, I had no idea it meant something else in the States.)

It was a very interesting conversation, me asking for a rubber, and wondering why he was flustered and sweating. And, he ... well, I don't know what he was thinking, but when I finally said "eraser" he exhaled and the color returned to his face.

And, now JT is reading some of the British books I read at his age, and once again I find myself crossing that language barrier.

Now, when he came to me and asked what certain words meant I thought he had heard them from school. We are at that fun stage where he is hearing all kinds of sayings, and then trying them out at home.

To combat these interesting outbursts we have encouraged him to ask us about any new sayings or words he has heard, before trying them out himself. This strategy helps to cut down on outbursts, from all parties.

So, when he came to me and asked what "ass" and "blow you" meant I wasn't too surprised; though mentally, I was once again praising public schools, and the judgment of other parents who allow their children to hear these sayings at home.


Well I answered the first word fairly easily, with a firm warning to never use the word. Before answering his second question I asked him where he heard these words.

"In the book you gave me to read"

What did I just say about parental judgment, and allowing kids to hear (or read) certain words.

The book he was reading was The Famous Five Together Again, by Enid Blyton. These books are about as benign as them come. The author was also British, and written in the 1960's.

The British have a thing for the word "ass." It seems to be everywhere, and on the benign side of bad language. In our house, not so much.

And, the term "blow you." I'm making the beat that it meant something completely different in 1960 England, then what it may mean in present day, U.S. Which is what I explained to JT.

:::sigh::: This is not talked about in the parenting books.

No comments: