Monday, August 9, 2010

To the Down

"Mamma, can I go to down to play", asked my four-year old.
"You cannot go to down to play, but you may go down to play", I replied. In his hurry to rush off I am sure he didn't hear me, but hopefully some internal component will process it and commit it to memory.

It is complicated when an adjective gets pressed into usage as a noun. If I go to the gym, why shouldn't my son go to the down, since that is what we call the place where he plays?

How do non-native speakers manage to speak English?

_____
A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.
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16 comments:

LTM said...

Excellent question! My oldest wouldn't speak until she said it exactly right. This came after she called "slippers" "snippers" and "sleep" "sneep."

We thought it was so cute, we wouldn't stop saying it. She was mortified...

My youngest couldn't have cared less... :D

So I gotcha a little something on my blog... wanna see it? ;p

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Excellent Rayna, I do enjoy your drabbles as I've said before, have tried many times but afraid not good enough to put on my blog.
Thanks for sharing.

Yvonne.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm not sure native English speaking people ever figure it out either!

Karen Walker said...

Diane said what I was going to say. I know so many natives who butcher the language. Some of it makes no sense at all.
Karen

slommler said...

I agree with Karen and Diane. Butcher is an understatement!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

Excellent point!

Margot Kinberg said...

Rayna - Really interesting drabble (and well-written) and it raises the question: What counts as language? There really is not just one form of any language, actually, as there are varieties of all languages. So we really can't say that one form or another of language is correct. We can only say that one form or another is standard. Most of the time, children sort out what's standard in a remarkable way; they seem to work it out with very little input from parents. I find that amazing.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

They say that English is one of the hardest languages to learn because often it has no rhyme nor reason.

Jemi Fraser said...

In English we use so many idioms, so much slang and we have so many short cuts in our language I'm not sure how anyone learns it!

Clarissa Draper said...

Here in Mexico, many of the Spanish speakers trying to learn English put TO in front of words that don't require it and sometimes I find myself doing the same thing...

CD

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I agree with the others - most people kill proper English.

Theres just life said...

I was born and raised with English, and it was my hardest subject at school. Then I went to Germany and was told by an Englishman I didn't speak proper English.
I still try but I know I slip, a lot. Though it does give my roommate something to laugh at.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

English is my only language, but I still struggle to remember all of the rules!

Susan Fields said...

I've noticed much more since going through the latest edit of my ms how many words like "to" get thrown in when they're not necessary. They're hard to pick out because we're so used to them.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Leigh- my younger one still can't say 'r'- it is always 'l'- and he couldn't care less. The older one would have hated it.

@ Yvonne - and I can't do poetry no matter how hard I try. Guess it is about what you are able to.

@ Diane- but if you grow up with a language, your ears do tell you when you are wrong, don't they?

@ Karen- ouch. Which is such a pity, actually, because it took centuries to create the language that is so easily being tossed aside.

@ SueAnn - worse and worse. Is there no hope for language?

@ Holly- thanks.

@ Margot- I guess that was what I was getting at when I mentioned 'native speakers'. If you hear a language long enough, you just instinctively 'know' when you are going wrong. But if you have learnt a language, it can be so hard to get the standard right.

@ Debra- I have to agree. And how do you explain to a child why the thing he cuts on his birthday is not kak?

@ Jemi- like Margot says, I guess people just learn to sort it out. But better than Sanskrit where every single letter is as per prescribed rules and no deviations at all.

@ Clarissa- ditto in India. You can make out if a person studied in an English medium school or not by the use of the word to. Which, perhaps, is why I am so snobbish about using to correctly.

@ Alex- which is such a pity, because many of the common mistakes can be avoided

@ Theres just life- as long as you laugh at your slips, it is okay. I hate it when others laugh at you for something you have no control over.

@ Jane- because very often, the rules do not really make sense, or are not written down. English is a difficult language.

@ Susan- when in doubt, throw in a to!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Leigh- my younger one still can't say 'r'- it is always 'l'- and he couldn't care less. The older one would have hated it.

@ Yvonne - and I can't do poetry no matter how hard I try. Guess it is about what you are able to.

@ Diane- but if you grow up with a language, your ears do tell you when you are wrong, don't they?

@ Karen- ouch. Which is such a pity, actually, because it took centuries to create the language that is so easily being tossed aside.

@ SueAnn - worse and worse. Is there no hope for language?

@ Holly- thanks.

@ Margot- I guess that was what I was getting at when I mentioned 'native speakers'. If you hear a language long enough, you just instinctively 'know' when you are going wrong. But if you have learnt a language, it can be so hard to get the standard right.

@ Debra- I have to agree. And how do you explain to a child why the thing he cuts on his birthday is not kak?

@ Jemi- like Margot says, I guess people just learn to sort it out. But better than Sanskrit where every single letter is as per prescribed rules and no deviations at all.

@ Clarissa- ditto in India. You can make out if a person studied in an English medium school or not by the use of the word to. Which, perhaps, is why I am so snobbish about using to correctly.

@ Alex- which is such a pity, because many of the common mistakes can be avoided

@ Theres just life- as long as you laugh at your slips, it is okay. I hate it when others laugh at you for something you have no control over.

@ Jane- because very often, the rules do not really make sense, or are not written down. English is a difficult language.

@ Susan- when in doubt, throw in a to!

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