Tuesday, 23 February 2016

sad meals and children's antonym use

Recently posted by Epic Parenting on Facebook:

I love seeing/hearing kids thinking about opposites. Here are a couple of up/down examples from the CHILDES database, used in Steve Jones' and my research on antonymy in childhood.  These are both by a then-two-year-old named ABE:
ABE: Cookie Monster drinks it down and I drink it up

ABE:  is it dry down or dry up?
FATHER:   dry up it’ll dry up soon I’m not sure why but it’s dry up instead of dry down
And then there are some oddities from my kid:
G: (to toy monkey):  You're just waking up in your awaking bag.
Me: is the sleeping bag an awaking bag now?
G: no, it's a sleeping bag.
Me: But didn't you say 'awaking bag'?
G: I was just speaking in the African way.  (3 years, 2 months)

(Describing her dad making soup from the cherry tomatoes she picked:)
It's whizzing and then it comes up not-tomato. (2 years, 10 months)
(On the way to work/creche)
Me: We're on the right train.
G:  Where's the left train? (2 years, 9 months)
(Getting ready to play with play-doh:)
G: Let's make a farm--with piggelets!
Phil: Piglets are hard... [to make]
G: No! Piggelets are soft!  (2 years, 6 months)
M: I can't do that.
G: [contradicting] Yes you can't!
M: Yes, I can.
G: Yes, you can't!
M: Yes, I can.
G: Yes, you can!
M: Yes, I _can_.
G: Yes, you can't!   (2 years, 2 months)
G (at dinner): "Stop talking about furniture and start talking about me." (3 years, 6 months)
         G: "But Mum, why does good grief have good in it?" (3 years, 8 months)

But this one has to be the best:
G:  You are fat to cuddle.
Me: (!!) Is it better to cuddle fat people or thin people?
G:  Thin people. ... Mummy, I love you. I really love you.  (3 years, 1 month)


  1. My grandson, when aged about 2½, misheard the name "Victoria Road" (near where he lives) as "Big Toria Road", and asked where Little Toria Road was...