Family-Specific Vocabulary

Family-Specific Vocabulary

Children make interesting connections as they learn to express their thoughts. This is a normal part of learning to communicate. Children learn vocabulary and linguistic rules and try to apply this information as best they can in novel situations.

For example, your child may learn that the pet in the house with 4 legs, fur, and a tail is a “dog”. The first time your child sees a cat (with similar features), he or she may say “dog”. It often takes several examples before your child will build a mental bank helping him or her distinguish word meanings.

Sometimes, however, your child’s mistakes are so wonderful that you run with them — thus creating family-specific vocabulary. Such is the case in our family.

family-specific vocabulary

My toddler-aged son loves Johnny Cash. He particularly likes “Walk the Line” and “Ring of
Fire”. Any time I play these songs, he runs over to the stereo and starts galloping like a horse on a bouncy ball.

“Oh… Johnny Cash, daddy! Wing of Fiyah! I yuv dat one!”
“Daddy… pway mow Cash!”
“Put Cash on!”

One summer day my son made an interesting vocabulary connection. He said:

“I made a Johnny Cash.”
“You want Johnny Cash on?” I asked.
“No, daddy. Dairs a Johnny Cash in dair.”

He pointed to his diaper. I sniffed the air.  It smelt like a outhouse in August.  My wife and I started laughing.

“Oh… you made a Johnny Cash in your diaper?”
“I did.”

As I went to change him, I tried to figure out how he made this interesting connection
between Johnny Cash and the mound stuck to his bum.

Did he soil himself one time when listening to Johnny Cash?
Does he innately know that ‘Ring of Fire’ has other connotations?

I have no idea. Regardless, I think it’s pretty hilarious. “Johnny Cash” has
now been adopted as our family-specific vocabulary word for having a diaper blow-out.

Recently, our son has added an additional family-specific vocabulary word to our lexicon:

family-specific vocabulary

What family-specific vocabulary does your family use?

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