Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Word Power

Hank soaks up all kinds of words and then peppers his conversation with them. Sometimes he is not even in the ballpark of their actual meaning.

Today, walking in to see Pretty Neighbor and me working out in her basement, Hank goes, "Mom, you are looking really predictable." Only he pronounces it pwuh-dictable. He said it a few more times, with great relish, but I was huffing and puffing and could not stop and unravel his meaning.

But sometimes he nails it. A moment later, PN and I began doing the part of the Jillian Michaels workout where you do "fast feet," up on your toes like a football player. Hank, joining in, goes, "Well this is ex-scwushiating!"

I had to concur.

Tonight, at bedtime, we were talking over his imminent pre-k graduation and all the things that his classmates want to do with their lives. I said, "Remember last year at graduation, the little boy said he wanted to grow up and be Batman?"

Hank laughed, and then, embarrassed for the naïveté of his preschool colleague, said, "Well that's not even plausible."

I said, "Hank, what does plausible mean?" He said, "Batman is science fiction." Then he looked at me like, duh mom, and goes, "That means it's never gonna happen."

I started to suggest that maybe the little boy wanted to take his idea of Batman and make it real and Hank was all, that wouldn't BE BATMAN, and I was like, okay, you have a point. Now stop talking and go to sleep.

....

Words, man. Any good vocab got you excited lately? I was reading something in the last few days where a person was described as "raddled," and it was such an old word and one I see so rarely that I had to stop and enjoy it for a while. Raddled. Not rattled. Just the right word, you know? The right word is a balm to a weary soul.

14 comments:

delaine said...

That Hank is a thinking boy- always thinking. And the results are always charming , funny, and insightful. Love it!

delaine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erika W said...

Nulliparous. I read/heard this word for the first time in my life last week. A friend apologized for her "nulliparous comment." Whose the what now?

Dev is at the age of making up nonsense words. I assume this will subside in a few years and then pick up again if he goes to grad school in English. Mostly, though, he will catch us off guard with his phrases and sayings. This weekend he started saying "That's the ticket" at mostly appropriate times.

Elizabeth said...

I heard "defenestration" this week: the act of throwing something or someone (!) out the window.

Erika W said...

Correction: "Who's the what now." I felt the need to edit my comments since the post is about diction.

Kate said...

It's funny what they know! My son rewrites lyrics to pop songs and calls them his "parodies". It cracks me up he thinks it is a literary art form. I haven't heard any good vocab lately. I misused the word "nonplussed" a while ago and always have to look up the word "sanguine" because my brain just doesn't want to accept the dictionary definition.

Cassi Renee said...

Well, I had to look up "raddled". I think, really, that I'm looking quite raddled :-)

Hank is hilarious.

Keely said...

Smarty pants is smart. Xander surprises me with random words too, but nothing like "excwushiating"!

Elle said...

This is well-timed because I was just telling my Mr last week that you will use words I never, ever see used according to their meaning -- not their culturally scattershot fudgiment, but their actual derivation. I told him it catches me up every time and I have to just admire it in the paragraph, the winking of the jewel. I know exactly what you mean.

AlGalMom said...

The word of the week at our house is "impetigo", which is much too awesome a word to mean "mostly harmless but extremely contagious and ugly rash." It should be the name of a pretty color or something, or maybe an exotic and useful plant.

I also recently read a description of someone's saxophone playing as "salubrious" and it made me stop. I know it was being correctly applied, but I just can't associate the definition with the actual word in that case. If you told me I was salubrious I would want to punch you in the face. Salubrious. I mean really--it sounds gross, doesn't it?

Veronica said...

Hank is too awesome for words. Shay is starting to repeat everything I say; I should really start to step it up in the vocab department. The trouble is, spending all day with a baby and a toddler seems to prompt me to do more car and truck sound effects and cooing than crafting of perfect descriptive sentences.

ameliawalton.com said...

I love this--so the only that really comes to mind is more of a word mix up...our dog passed away this past fall and we explained to our two-year-old that she no longer lived in her body and my husband added helpfully, now she lives in Heaven. Not long after that our son overheard us talking to a friend about our dog and he looked the friend in the eyes and said gravely, She's with Kevin. All dogs go to Kevin.

I adore what children say. Oh! This one too...if you ask our same two-year-old where caterpillars live while they turn into butterflies, he answers very simply and with great assurance, in a racoon. Ah ha.

Aimee said...

At book club last night, we got a kick out of using "obdurate" a lot. We were discussing 11/22/63 by Stephen King, and he uses it quite a bit: the past is obdurate. Lovely word!

Beth said...

You have some of the smartest readers on the interwebs, too, did you know, Becky?

Rowan does a lot of the using of unexpected words, but they aren't quite as complex as Hank's. They're just not what you'd expect out of a 5 year old. Last week at his brother's baseball game, I was up and taking photos, and he was exasperated, and he came to me and asked, "How many more pictures?" I said, "I don't know, buddy." And he replied, "Well, what's your estimate?" It cracked me up.