Monday, May 12, 2008


The horror. It can talk.

I don't remember who said it, but a quote that sticks in my mind about children is that "it's lovely to live near a playground so that you can hear the chatter of little voices. Providing that you don't listen to closely to what they're actually saying." This fact was brought into sharp relief when I took The Prawn to our local toddler playground for an afternoon romp only to find it mostly occupied with 9-10 year old boys goofing around. I fixed them with a fairly disapproving look, but ignored them for the most part while the Prawn clambered happily over some of the equipment. However, I kept one ear on their conversation which was both shocking and hilarious at the same time. My guess is that they had been talking fairly freely before my arrival and either out of deference for my adult authority status (ha!) or the Prawn's pristine ears, while their talk remained coarse, they at least had the decency to SPELL their curse words.

"You know that blonde kid, yeah? Who called me a b-a-s-t-a-r-d?"


"I'm going to punch 'im in the f-u-c-k-i-n-g face tomorrow at break."

It took all my power not to laugh, seeing as how they'd go to all that trouble. Little s-h-i-t-s.

At any rate, the Prawn is also making more and more advanced forays into the world of linguistics and thankfully none of them have included any of the above mentioned words. It has become obvious to us that while we may still be able to swear like sailors once she is abed, that we'd better find more creative methods of expressing displeasure when she is in earshot.

Occasionally we leave her with a friend who is very good with children and we trust totally but who is, shall we say, slightly more basic in vocabulary than we ourselves are. She's someone who might say "anyfink" instead of "anything" or "I done that" rather than "I did that". One of my personal favorite derogatory phrases that I've learned since coming to the UK has been "minging", as it seems to be rather descriptive of something that is disgusting or unpleasant. This girl uses this phrase quite a lot and last night I off-handedly said it to Mr. DD about something only to hear a little voice down at knee height say, "MINGING!" gleefully. While not ACTUALLY a curse word, it's not necessarily something I want my child shouting in the supermarket, to be taken the wrong way by all and sundry. Mr. DD already taught her to say "bum" which is quite enough to be getting on with.

Her vocabulary list now includes almost all parts of the face, a fair number of barnyard animals, the number 2, the standard "mama" and "dada", clock, cheese, banana, (pronounced "nana") milk, juice, egg, a number of items of clothing, a few transportational devices and of course her first love, "guitar".

The fact that I manufactured something that is now capable of talking to me is a daily source of amazement.


abcgirl said...

kids spelling out swear words is hilarious! so... minging. does it rhyme with ringing or cringing? i've often wondered that. and is there a parallel word in american (for level of "badness" not necessarily meaning)? is it closer to damn or dang? i've probably heard this word in british film at one point or another and, not being familiar with the term, dismissed it as my mind scrambled to keep with a thick cockney accent or something.

have i mentioned that i can understand terry pratchett (and for that matter, debi gliori) when they write in heavily accented scottish now that i've listened to pratchett's books on tape? i suppose you just have to get it "in your ear."

Aunt Becky said...

Alex has a penchant for only three words: ball, poop and penis.

Guess he got his Dude card at birth.

MsPrufrock said...

Minging is a great word though! I put on my best local accent and say, "Cor, you is well mingin'" sometimes, just for fun.

On the word front, it's a slippery slope my dear. My own darling stood at the closed bedroom door Saturday morning, my opportunity to sleep in, shouting, "Git up!" over, and over, and over again. Fun times.

rockmama said...

abcgirl- Minging rhymes with singing and the nearest American equivelant would be "grody". :)

Dr. Grumbles said...

I am convinced that spelling bad words just leads to little ones learning to say the letters!

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