Thursday, September 2, 2010


In our family, over the years, we have "re-defined" some basic words, phrases, and uses of the English language. I am quite certain that this happens in a lot of families. What I do find quite peculiar is that we use these re-definitions effortlessly throughout a normal day and not one of us seems to think twice about it.

Before I go any further, let me first list some of these definitions.

Bargage (noun) Pronunciation: bar gaj.
Definition: Receptacle for holding trash.
  "Can you please put your apple core in the bargage?" 

Bizz-Bizz (noun, verb) Pronunciation: biz biz.
Definition: A barber's electric clippers.
   "Let me give you a hair cut with the bizz-bizz." (n)
   "Your hair is getting too long in the back, tell the barber to bizz-bizz it shorter next time."
Blecha-Blecha (adj) Pronunciation: bleck uh bleck uh.
Definition: Something that is very disgusting and/or messy. 
    "I just changed the baby's diaper and it was blecha-blecha."

Chopths (noun) Pronunciation: chawpths
Definition: A tasty, crispy snack made from potatoes or tortillas.
   "I think Ruffles Sour Cream and Onion chopths are the yummiest!"

Jerk-a-phone (adj) Pronunciation: jer kuh fone.
Definition: The ultimate insult from a three-year-old directed at anyone who angers that three-year-old.
   "My big brother told me to pick up my blocks or I wouldn't get a cookie; he's a jerk-a-  phone!"

Kitch (noun) Pronunciation: kich.
Definition: The room in the house where cooking, storing of foodstuffs, and eating occur.
   "Dinner's ready! Go to the kitch and sit at the table!"

Live (noun) Pronunciation: Liv
Definition: The room in the house used for casual and formal gatherings; usually contains a sofa.
  "Go clean up the live! Company is coming over!" 

Makery (noun) Pronunciation: may ker ee.
Definition: A person who is extremely talented at creating culinary delights.
    "Mom, I love your chili! You are the best makery!"

The above list is just a smattering of our family's re-definitions/creations (Hey! Give me a break! It's exhausting to try to be Webster or Oxford!). Using some of these words, I will show you an example of the kind of conversation that happens daily in our home:

Dad to Kid: "Where are you going with those chopths? We only eat in the kitch."
Kid to Dad: "Mom said I could eat them in the live this one time, cuz Sally-Sue was being a jerk-a-phone to me.
Dad to Kid: "How was Sally-Sue being a jerk-a-phone to you?"
Kid to Dad: "I made a peanut butter sandwich and I let Sally-Sue taste it. She said it tasted blecha-blecha, but I told her I was a good makery! I AM a good makery, right, Dad?"
Dad to Kid: "Yes, you are a great makery! Listen, go ahead and eat the chopths in the live, but when you are finished, please put all the crumbs in the bargage."

Yep. Everyone can understand each other but an "outsider" would think we were insane... or, that we were re-creating an old Twilight Zone episode.

The English language is complicated all on it's own, so I cannot fathom why families try to add even more confusion by changing it up. Although, just the opposite may be true. Maybe, because the English language has so many rules and exceptions to those rules, young children in their innate stubbornness, create a word or phrase that makes sense (to them!) and parents "adopt" these mutations because it is easier than arguing with a 30 inch tall tyrant. Maybe that's how "language" was invented in the first place: by toddlers.

Maybe, this is like the eternal "chicken vs. the egg" question: what came first, adultspeak or childspeak?

What do you think, you big jerk-a-phones?

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