The Way We Talk: Introducing the Adjective

I have been doing more reading than writing in the past week. I waste my time reading a large blogroll consisting of must read news articles and analysis, knitting blogs, parenting blogs, language and translation blogs. I should perhaps cull this unwieldy flock and start over, but I cannot bring myself to do it. The bloggers I read have become like friends, and it is not easy to cut them out of my life after following their trials and tribulations for so long.

In addition to this electronic reading addiction, I have succumbed to procrastination syndrome. I always feel I have time, it will be done some day, but that someday never really comes. I still have a large hole in the blog that needs to be fixed and updated, and I have my notes about many missing posts, but it is all some day. Now yesterday I got this huge translation job that will keep me busy for the next month, but instead of putting my head to the grindstone and starting to work on it, what do I do? I feel this irresistable urge to update my blog, so here I am.

I think Robert’s first adjective used correctly merits a post by itself. One of the knitting bloggers I follow has a daughter who is approximately two months older than Robert, so it is interesting to read about her development and anticipate what will come next. Around 18 months the little girl made up a sentence that went like : flower .. pretty.

Robert is very much a boy, so he is not interested in flowers. I doubt that he has a word for plant either, and his interest there stops at pulling parts from growing things. The poor jade plant sitting just outside our door bears sad witness to this activity.  So it is normal when his choice for a first adjective was  typically male as well : it-di-gadin (it’s disgusting). This came about while Robert and I were having a bath. He was happily playing in the warm water while I washed my hair. Because my child is such clean freak (at this tender age, and he does not get it from me either) I continuously fish out my stray long hairs from the water while we bath. I roll it into an unappealing but perfectly harmless hairball for later disposal.  My son however, caught this thing, wrinkled his face and nose at it and exclaimed : it-di-gadin. It did not take me long to understand what he was on about, because yesterday this word was cause for much amusement. I told him that his nappy was disgusting, and gave emphasis to the pronunciation. It’s obvious that he liked the sound “disgusting” made, because we repeated it time and time again to the chorus of his laughter. Today he remembered the word and used it appropriately.

Babies apparently start to remember more and more things at this particular age and I am beginning to notice that. A week ago I pointed out the waxing gibbon which rose just before Robert’s bedtime. Yesterday he pointed to the direction where the moon was and said clearly : moon.  Maybe he thought I was pointing to the palm tree which is in the same general direction, but still the fact remains that he remembered something I showed him once a few days back. I still fail sometimes to understand him, paper and pepper sound exactly the same for example, and there are things that he remembers or connections he makes that I do not know anything about.  In our daily commute, for example, from home the kindergarten and back we pass the Sea Point library on Main Road. And if Robert happens to look towards the library he would get excited, and start shouting Ki-kah, Ki-kah repeatedly until something else catches his attention. I have wracked my brain for the meaning of this ki-kah, and I even asked his father but we both remain clueless. It could be the library, the fountain in front of it, or even an experience he had inside it,  but I cannot figure it out.

We are also at the very early stages of combining words. Yesterday Robert was climbing the steps barefoot, when he suddenly stopped and started whining and pointing to his foot. I think he said: bain..foot (pain..foot?). He might have stubbed his foot in his rush, but it is also possible that I misheard or overinterpreted his reaction.

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