The Möther Töngüe

1368490957121-1-There’s something about when your kids start talking.

We all wait with anticipation for that first word, whatever it may be, and then rejoice with happiness when our little angel finally cleats out a sound that we can recognize as something more that just a gurgling or an frightful caterwaul loud enough to wake the corpse of Abraham Lincoln. It’s a glorious moment that we all reminisce about later, especially at times when we can’t get the little noisemakers to shut up just for five minutes so we can hear someone on TV as they audition for “American Idol.”

As kids get older and speak more, they, naturally build up their vocabulary. Exposure to reading, adults talking [especially when we are swearing] and other children at school adds to the words that a kid knows, and can then use herself in everyday communication. And around our house, I’m always amazed when either our six-year-old or four-year-old daughters spit out something we’ve never heard before. Unless, of course, that word is something that, say, starts with “god” and ends with “damn”, like I uttered about 5,000 times during the Super Bowl, and especially when my Beloved Seattle Seahawks threw that interception from the one-goddamn-yard line that cost them the game. In that case, nothing they say surprises me.

Kids also seem to have ways of coming up with their own words for everyday things, too. I, myself, apparently didn’t know how to say the word “bread” for a while when I was little, and used the word “bat” instead. And every time I saw my grandmother until her dying day she reminded me of how I always would ask for “more bat” when l was just learning how to talk.

Which gets me to my four-year-old daughter, who some days seems to have a language that’s completely her own. We call it Little Sis Speak.

Most of what Little Sis says comes across in normal, everyday speak. However, there are those exceptions to her vocabulary that she has created on her own. There aren’t a lot of words in Little Sis Speak, but what there is really does stand out as something unique and original. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of some of the basics of Little Sis Speak and how they translate into something that you can understand in standard American English.

“Check Up”

Little Sis Speak Sentence: “Daddy, I WANT MORE CHECK UP!”

Translation: “Daddy, I WANT MORE KETCHUP!”

Comments: OK, “Check Up’ and “Ketchup” are kind of close in the mind of a four-year-old. This will likely pass. I’ll be more concerned if she soon starts talking about getting some “ketchup” on her next doctor’s visit.


Little Sis Speak Sentence: “I pünt the book on the shelf!”

Translation: “I put the book on the shelf!”

Comments: It sounds like “poont”, but it’s cooler to write it with the umlauts like Mötley Crüe would.


Little Sis Sentence: “Mommy? Can I have a takken?”

Translation: “Mommy? Can I have a napkin?”

Comments: As long as she doesn’t wipe her mouth on her dress, she can use a “takken” all she wants.


Little Sis Sentence: “I wanna peanut butter and jelly sa-wan-a-wich!”

Translation: “I wanna peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

Comments: If she eats the whole thing, does it really matter what she calls it?


Little Sis Sentence: “Wasawase!”

Translation: Who knows?

Comments: We’re not sure what “wasawase” is supposed to mean, and Little Sis hasn’t provided any context for it. As far as we know, she’s invented a new daily special at our local sushi joint.

“Turn off the barella!”

Little Sis Sentence: “Daddy, can you turn off the barella?”

Translation: “Daddy, can you close the umbrella?”

So, on a typical night in our house, with her barella turned off, Little Sis then uses her takken to wipe up the check up that she has pünt on the table next to her sa-wan-a-wich. It’s easy to follow what’s she’s saying; you just have to wasawase your way through all new vocabulary.

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