Charlotte Philby's Parental Leave: 'I was just thinking, maybe it would be fun to talk about language'

A mother's weekly dispatch from the pre-school frontline

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Indy Lifestyle Online

There has been a strange development in the world of the four-year-old, relating to her sentence construction. Apparently, it's been playing on her mind as she has taken to marching around the house muttering to herself, sternly: "You don't say 'innit' you say 'isn't it'."

I'm not quite sure where this unconventional approach to syntax comes from but it seems to be connected to an incident at nursery, and as such I've learnt to leave the subject well alone.

Instead, I focus my attention on her insistence on suffixing any adjective with the word "super", which has recently extended to throwing the word "super" into all sentences, regardless. As in: "But I'm super not even tired" and "I need a super big poo!"

I choose my moment carefully. She is settled at the foot of the stairs making a fort with the toddler from the dirty-washing pile. "Hello," I say, "what are you up to?" She doesn't look up: "I am the captain and this my shit-mate!" she cries. "Cool," I say, gathering strength. "I was just thinking, maybe it would be fun to talk a bit about language…" She looks up: "I know language. I can speak France and Spanish: hola, oui, supercalerfrogelastic…" I smile: "That's brilliant. Actually, I was thinking maybe we could start by talking about English words, and which you use in various situations…" I look down, she is staring back, eyebrows cocked.

"You know," I shrug, "like 'isn't it' for example..." She stands in fury: "WHAT YOU TALKING ON ABOUT?" I put my hands up: "You're right, we can talk later... It's not that even super important."

motherland.net

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