August 4, 2009

I have a bit of a tic (my head jerks a foot to the left) that manifests itself when someone butchers the English language (I’m not as particular about other languages). I remember once talking with Elden and Kim, when Ian toddled up to us and said something cute, but mis-conjugated his verb. Kim and I corrected him in unison, while Elden backed away slowly.

Last weekend my neighbors, Karl and Caroline, hosted a neighborhood BBQ in their back yard. I sat on some rocks with other neighborhood men, talking about manly stuff, and Maddy came over to sit with me for a bit. I asked her something about her cup full of Diet Coke, and Maddy, who is generally a fine student, athlete, and scholar, said “I haven’t drinkin any yet.”

I’m a little embarrassed to say my first response (apart from my head spinning completely around twice) was to look at my fellow men to see if they had noticed.

Then I started laughing. “What?” she said?

“You said ‘drinkin.'”

“That’s a word.”

“Yeah, in retard land. Go ask your mom if it’s a word.”

So she went over to where the women were sitting (the segregation is not doctrinal, but natural). I heard her say that she used a word and that I was mean and told her she was dumb. Which is not strictly true.

“What’s the word?” asked Kim.

“Drinkin.” But, spoken alone like that, it sounded like “drinking.” Kim nodded, and I could tell she was saying “duh, of course that’s a word. Don’t pay any attention to that crank.”

So I yelled across the lawn “Ask her to use it in a sentence!” Which she did.

From where I was sitting, I couldn’t hear the sentence Maddy used, but I could tell from the way Kim’s head jerked a foot to the left (we have the same tic) and the way she looked like she had just thrown up in her mouth a little that Maddy had used the same sentence I had heard.

See, it’s the sweet little parenting techniques that make the difference.


30 Responses to “drinkin”

  1. stevenbpt Says:

    Sweeeeeeet!! My kid’s do that to me too. “Dad called me dumb”. Even putting it in context doesn’t save me every time though. Not everyone can be an english major.

  2. mark Says:

    I actually enjoy the misconjugations, mispronunciations, and made-up words my kids use. But mine are younger than yours, so it’s still cute. My favorite is that my five-year-old uses the word “drinky” instead of thirsty. He understands thirsty but doesn’t quite speak it yet. I love it.

    My two-year-old recently started saying “that’s awesome” in response to her most frequent question, “what you doing, daddy?”

    In context: “what you doing daddy?”

    “Trimming my toenails.”

    “Oh. That’s awesome.”

    • dug Says:

      yes mark, saying drinky when you’re two years old is cute. when maddy was two she would say “hold you” with her arms outstretched when she wanted us to pick her up, because we would always say “oh, you want me to hold you?” when she held her arms out. it was cute.

      she’s not two anymore.

      • mark Says:

        Are you certain that “drinkin” or perhaps “drinken” isn’t the correct old English conjugation but didn’t hold over the way “eaten” did? Because were it a hot dog rather than a beverage, “I haven’t eaten any yet” would be correct.

        Moreover, unlike France and Spain and North Korea, we don’t have a language academy, so “correct” is a subjective term anyway. Sure, you can consult the style manuals, but they don’t all get along. Just ask the journalists forced to use serial commas.

        • dug Says:

          i am not sure. and i agree, “correct” may have (has) lost much of its meaning.

          but it’s like obscenity–i know it when i see it.

          • mark Says:

            Since when has that held you back from using it?

          • Gary Says:

            Can you see “obscenity”? I think it was pornography that Justice Stewart said he’d know it when he saw it.

            • dug Says:

              well, as long as we’re splitting hairs, it was “hard core” pornography old potter was talking about, but most commentary on the case conflates hard core pornography and obscenity.

  3. KP Says:

    Everyone can be an English major? D*mn. Then what did I spend all that tuition money on? I should have kept the receipt. No, I do not want store credit.

    • dug Says:

      kp, i’m not saying everyone can “magically” be an english major. i’m saying everyone CAN (or could have). it’s not like being a doctor–english departments will take ANYBODY.

      • KP Says:

        That is true, you don’t even have to take a test to get in! Plus I was only required to take one (1) grammar class to complete my degree at a prominent local university.

    • mark Says:

      We can all be English majors, but like all English majors, we’ll need to develop other marketable skills if we want to earn a living.

  4. hubcityrob Says:

    It could have been worse. If she had been from around here, she would have said “I haven’t drinkin any yet, but I’m fixin’ to.”

  5. KanyonKris Says:

    Irregardless, I aint accordinated.

    (runs away snickering while dug’s head spins)

  6. linfin Says:

    My 9 year old neice drops the g off the end of words too. “this is borin” “I am drinkin this”, etc. My sister has actually ENCOURAGED this as well as other mispronunciations (like crew-de-ton instead of crouton) because she thinks it’s cute. Not for a nine year old!! I of course cannot stand it, and although I have no tic, I have to correct her every time or else my head will swell up and eventually explode.

    • dug Says:

      yeah, here’s my problem, linfin–it’s not the dropping of the the g that i have a problem with. drinkin isn’t a case of a dropped g, it’s a made up conjugation of drink. the simple past tense of drink is drank. you know. as opposed to “drinkin.”

      what your niece does IS cute.

      • Sophia Says:

        Okay, just to drive you crazy, but are you saying Maddie should have said, “I haven’t drank any yet”? Shouldn’t it be the perfect tense, “I haven’t drunk any yet”?

        I’m no English major, but I declare that it sounds less twangy.

        • dug Says:

          sophia, yes, good point, drunk is the participle form, and the one she should have used. i was just pointing out that the simple past tense was drank, and that her sin was not dropping a g, but rather something far more egregious.

  7. Jenny-Jenny Says:

    Maybe her drink wasn’t unthawed yet so she couldn’t have drinken it yet. Just sayin’.

  8. JB Says:

    Love your stories … Just another reason why you and Kim are so perfect for each other!

  9. bikemike Says:

    shoot her like a moose.

  10. Julianne Says:

    When I was at dinner with friends and an intelligent man with aspirations to become a lawyer used “drinkin” in a parallel context, I had a hard time keeping a straight face. When he used it again, I thought of you and collapsed in laughter (in my brain, of course. I haven’t yet gotten to the point of correcting my friends).

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