No one ever said English was an easy language

On the way home last night, Reid was telling us about something that had happened in class but she first used “him” for a girl and then auto-corrected to “she”. It seems to me that this is a new error in her speech but maybe it’s been there all along and I’m noticing it now because the other non-standard expressions are disappearing. In any case, we had a discussion that went something like this:

Me: He is opposite of she. Him is opposite of her. You want to say “her”.
Reid: I’m doing another kind of opposite.
Me: What other kind of opposite? (I know of only the one kind.)
Reid: The kind that means the same but sounds different.
Me: You mean synonym. Him and she are definitely not synonyms.
Ken: Antonym is the opposite of the word you couldn’t think of.

I greatly admired Ken’s quick and funny, or punny, response. I love grammar jokes. Reid ignored us both and continued with her story.

A few minutes later, Reid called out “atqp” and asked what that spelled. I told her that she a “q” needs a “u” beside it. She revised her “word” to “atqup” and I sounded it out but said that it wasn’t actually a word. Reid protested that it had an “a” – I’ve told her before that words need a vowel – and I agreed that she had included both vowels and consonants, which was good, but that letter collections need to also have meaning to be considered words. Reid’s next attempt was “cpa” and I told her that the consonants needed a vowel between them. And got out of the car to check the mail. When I got back in, Reid was delighted to report that “cap” spelled cap. It was a bit of a Eureka moment for her.

It continues to be interesting to me that Reid is very interested in spelling words. Occasionally she’ll agree to sound out words in a story that we’re reading – though she did scam Ken into reading a Fancy Nancy early reader book that I told her she needed to read to me – and she does a good job at decoding the words. She points out more and more words and asks about what the rest of a piece of text has to do with the word that she recognizes. Reid doesn’t, however, exhibit any inclination to learn to read. I feel a bit like a scientist observing an intriguing animal in the wild. It’s all very cool for a language nut like me.

One Response to “No one ever said English was an easy language”

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