Friday, August 10, 2007

Where To Put Your Emphasis

Sometimes when The Boss speaks, I can't help but think of that movie with the name I can't remember and the trailer that I don't think I'll ever get out of my head. It's the one where the guy on the plane goes "you put the wrong em-PHA-sis on the wrong syl-LA-ble." You know what I'm talking about. I know you do.

So, anyway, The Boss employs a strange annunciation. She says "wa-TER." Sometimes she doubles up on the wrongness of her emphasis with words like "COM-pu-TER." We hear that one a lot because she has a little stress relieving squeezy toy (my two year old is under a lot of pressure) in the shape of a desktop. She likes to brag about it as she walks around with the puffy foam in her outstretched hand.

Sometimes she adds syllables. "Where-y are you?" and "I'm-a gonna get you!" Or she'll try to string a sentence together--admirably, at first--only to be overwhelmed by the process. "Call nana phone! Call nana...on da...nana...call..." She starts to trail off and her voice becomes soft with frustration. "Nana call..." Then, after what seems like minutes, stutter-struggling all the while, she throws out the sad, tiny flag of capitulation. "...phone."

And, of course, there are the syllables that are just that. Sounds. Not one of them relates to the next in what could be construed by any English speaker as language. Though The Partner and I have become skilled at interpreting her dialect, there are times when we just have to smile at her and nod as we cast side-long glances at each other with raised, WTF eyebrows.

In the midst of all this discovery, we are well aware that it is only the beginning of a life-long lack of common understanding.

8 comments:

slouching mom said...

Heh. That's too, too true.

Lawyer Mama said...

Oh boy, isn't that the truth!

jen said...

ah yes. i am all too familiar. and then we find ourselves talking to each other in her vernacular (not baby talk, dude, because that's just creepy - but inflection) and then we stop and slap ourselves.

Mrs. Chicken said...

You are so young, yet so wise!

The Poo adds the "a" to a lot of words and phrases. She sounds like Luigi!

bubandpie said...

I had a student from England once who insisted, during our class on scansion, that ALL English people put the emPHAsis on the second sylLAble of waTER.

(She was one of my favourite students ever. Can you tell?)

Mrs. Chicky said...

Oh yeah. All of it. Especially the nodding your head when she says something you don't understand. If I didn't do that my child would be driven mad from trying to explain what she meant.

Redneck Mommy said...

You just hit the nail on the head. Welcome to my world. Ten years later and our communication still resembles that of a growing toddler and a frustrated momma...

moosh in indy. said...

In my house it's,
"...X,Y,Z...now I know my ABC's...D, E,F...H, um, ELEMENOHPEE..."
That last line gets her every time.