Thursday, February 03, 2011

Vocabulary and idiolect

The other day we were on a bus with a friend, and Linnea mentioned another bus journey on which she had felt a bit sick. "I was bus-sick," she said. "Yes," I said, "but you didn't get sick, did you?"

"No," she said, "I was bus-ill."

And today Emer fell slightly when going upstairs and said "Oops, I had a little tumble."

Neither "ill" nor "tumble" were in my childhood vocabulary at all. I consciously adopted "ill" when I was nine, but didn't use it much - it wasn't a word in common use in my circles, and sounded faintly wannabe-posh, in the same way that children in 1950s Cork didn't say "mud," they said "mire" but that would sound trying-too-hard for most children I know now.

"Aren't I" instead of "amn't I," too. Unvoiced R sounds. It is interesting, having children whose language is so different from my own, in spite of being the same one.


Rivka said...

Colin has a very large vocabulary for describing falls, I guess because they feature as such a large part of his day. "I toppled." "I stumbled." "I tripped." "I fall down hit head."

Ailbhe said...

Stumble would have been in my vocab. But not "tread," which is in Rob's childhood vocab. We had phiz for face, and facecloth for flannel, too.

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