Monday, March 30, 2009

Accents, Hypercorrection, Neologism

For the most part, I leave Professor Mimi at the door when I parent. I just don't know how much good it does Munchkin to have a professional wordsmith/media theorist/lecturer preparing toast for her or tickling her belly. She CERTAINLY doesn't need Professor Mimi testing her IQ (as my mom did to me when I was three) or flipping flash cards at her or working on her alphabet. Mama Mimi is much more lackadaisical about achievement and is much less 'edu' and much more 'tainment' at home.

Still, sometimes, that PhD will have its way and I make note of stuff.

Accents: Munchkin speaks Spanish words ("Hola! Soy [Munchkin]!") with no discernible English accent. She mutters in French ("Bonjour! Je m'appelle [Munchkin]!") with no discernible English accent. She does recognize that some words are not in English, though, and sometimes she'll tell me she can't say them--she's getting an ear for it, and knows that English is 'her' language. I find that interesting.

Hypercorrection: Munchkin does have a 'Canadian' accent, though. We Canucks tend to drop some inner consonant sounds from our speech: thus "interested" is pronounced "inneressed", and "Toronto" is often "Trah-nah". Munchkin has this habit, to something of an extreme. For her, "mother" is pronounced "muh-er", for example, and "doudou" sometimes becomes "dou-ou". More inneressing (ahem) is that sometimes she hypercorrects--'hypercorrection' is a term that designates a self-conscious correctness that overshoots the mark, as when someone says "She went to the store with Daddy and I"--the correct form would be "Daddy and me" since that phrase is the object of the verb rather than its subject (whan-whan-whan-boooooring). So I notice that when Munchkin is trying to be precise, she overcorrects her consonants, such that "doudou" become "doutou" and "Daddy" becomes "Datty". Innnnnnnn-teresting.

Neologism: This morning, Munchkin told us she was a 'fast princess' and was going to "scanter" all the way down the hall. That's "canter" (like a pony) and "scamper" together. She does that a lot, makes up new words, or portmanteau words.

Professor Mimi just wanted to put that out there so that Mama Mimi can go back to scantering down the hallway without a thought in her head.

Hey now! Less thinkin', and more goofy!

*as a gesture of good faith in goofiness, I'm letting the improper parallelism stand ...


Janet said...

Scanter is my new favourite word. Now I must scanter off to the kitchen so my kids have something in their lunches today.

Kyla said...

Scanter IS a great word.

She is a clever little thing.

slouching mom said...

this post is near and dear to my heart. love it. i think about words/accents/word origins/acquisition of language ALL THE TIME.

but this...

Mama Mimi is much more lackadaisical about achievement and is much less 'edu' and much more 'tainment' at home. my favorite part of the post, and is what makes you an awesome parent.

Bea said...

If only more posts made reference to "portmanteau words"! That one made my day.

Mimi said...

Would that make them 'postmanteaux' (is that hypercorrection? Should it be 'postmanteaus'?)

No Mother Earth said...

I'm curious - Do Canucks always drop inner consonant sounds, or do they also drop inner vowels? Does it vary by region? I will say "intrested" and "Tronto".

Also, I've been told in Spain that I speak Spanish with a French accent (coincidentally the second language I was immersed in from kindergarten up).

I think I need to take one of your classes on language.

Beck said...

Scanter! Good word.
And I believe it's actually pronounced "Trah-no." That's how we say it around here, anyhow.
My dad was raised up in the States and as a result, I have some odd American regionalisms in my pronunciation. It's WEIRD.

creative-type dad said...

Scanter should totally be a word.

My daughter sometimes has a Canadian or Brooklyn accent. She must travel a lot on her unicorn.

kittenpie said...

I love watching how their language usage develops, it's so fascinating.

And ftr, I'm with NoMo on intresting and Tronto.