Monday, January 21, 2013

Well I never expected to hear that...

Children can be very direct with words. Sometimes its just that they don't think or predict ahead, but often its because the content is more important than the effect it might have on the listener. Par example, we recently visited our near French neighbours  who have two small children under four,to deliver belated Christmas gifts. 

Now perhaps first I should explain that my other half is a bearded gent with a life long passion for motor bikes and that he frequently passes this family's house and waves to them.I thought that convincing these small children that, my grey bearded husband was an English Pere Noel arriving late, would be easy.

Not so, my whispered assurances were met with wide eyed incredulity by the eldest boy Noah. Fetching a toy red motor bike ,we had previously bought for him, he informed me in clear & confident French "Non,regarde la moto ,c'est Ron". It could have been straight out of 'Allo, Allo', except he didn't add ' you stupid woman...!'

" Ron,ron,ron" , Noah asserted, as he went round the room riding his imaginary bike; the onomatopoeic meaning of my hubands name never having registered or been relevant to me before

This got me thinking about how we deliver & receive language and how sometimes this can have amazing outcomes.So perhaps this was why I only responded with mild surprise, when an English friend  (Jenny), whilst discussing the banking & investment  situation came out with a rather unexpected phrase.
Referring to anti-inflationary ideas  she said, " well I just thought I'll buy a troglodyte cave...then a forest,but I settled on watches". Turns out this bizarre combintion of phrases made perfect logical sense when explained in terms of alternative investments, but I honestly never thought I' d hear that!

More recently ,I phoned our son   Tom & in the conversation asked him , 'what he was up to?' "Well right now", he in formed me, "I'm currently cleaning Roman coins with a cotton bud & bees wax". He is actually an amateur coin collector, but this was another conversation stopper, just try to follow that.

So in the wintry conditions driving back up through the UK on Friday it struck me that words can be regionally different, either more subtle or more direct. From the Hampshire & Berkshire motorway warnings 'Severe Weather Conditions Today'   to the  M6 direct northern instructional statement of, 'Snow, Slow Down!'.

And now snow bound in the Staffordshire Peaks,the snow has us all huddled around laptops & the social network is afire with images of  a snowman called Jim who was made on Sunday by two friends Graham & Nina. The scoop of the week came with Graham announcing earlier today;

 I'm choking back the emotion ...... Jim has been asked to do a phot-shoot for the local newspaper (Leek Post & Times) .

Well I never expected to hear that...
Perhaps with language, its not where it starts from, but where  the words end up.