Monday, November 16, 2009

Preschoolers are prescriptive grammarians

Pynchon: "Munchkin, okay, it's time to get dressed for bed! Mommy's coming home soon and you want to be ready for your stories!"

Munchkin: [play, play, play] "Play! Play! Play!"

Pynchon: "C'mon now, Munchkin. It's pajama time: let's put on your diapers."

Munchkin: "Dad, it's only one. It's a DIAPER, it's not diapers."

Pynchon: "!!!!"

Technically, it's a matter of usage that either construction, the plural or the singular formation, is idiomatic. However, I say diaper and Pynchon says diapers and Munchkin has noticed there's a difference. And, prescriptive grammarian that she's turned out to be, she has picked one version as correct and will not hesitate to correct what she sees as an error.

(I'm a little appalled. I'm more from the descriptive grammar camp, myself. Munchkin needs to be schooled in academic fashion, obviously.)

As it turns out, she peed through everything, diaper, diapers, whatever. Laundry? Is being done.


Cloud said...


I say "pants". Hubby says "trousers" (in his part of the world, "pants" are worn under "trousers").

So far, Pumpkin has accepted them as synonyms.

cinnamon gurl said...

Preschoolers are prescriptive EVERYTHING as far as I can tell. E has all kinds of rules.

Omaha Mama said...

We would be smart to put a diaper or diapers on our little guy, he's been peeing the bed lately and it would be good to have some absorption!

As for grammar, B and I have had one or two interesting conversations about pants and why it's one pair, but called a plural word.

Just wait until she starts wanting to spell things and she tells you something in the car like "I know mom. I n-o." And then you describe why she's spelling incorrectly while being a smarty pants and that know in that form needs a kn. Good times.

Jenifer said...

Rosebud and I had the "ph" is really a "f" sound conversation the other day and she didn't hesitate to tell me what she thought of the English language and all the weird rules.

Papoosie Girl accepted everything at face value and was content with my explanations...special rules..special rules for words.

I am going to have my work cut out for me with Rosebud.