Family vernacular

Laughing (and hacking) whilst catching up with Voice of the Turtle’s Saturday Funnies, caused me to stop and think about our family vernacular.  These are words that were initiated by some member of the family whether by the verbal diahorrea of older members mixing it up, or the difficulties inherent in navigating big people words with little mouths and new teeth.  The words stick, sometimes the stories behind them do, and sometimes we use them with unsuspecting non-family members with hilarious or perplexed results. 
Here are a few of ours:

Rumpust: the kids play room is the rumpust, the rumpust is the messiest place in the house, I do NOT clean the rumpust in this house.

Got bomited: What happened to this apple in your lunchbox?  It got bomited.  Mum, pull over, Ethan got bomited.  I dropped my glass on the kitchen tiles and it got bomited. (This one spread through the family after my son told his Aunty that her daughter had got bomited on the trampoline.)

Hairup: If you go and get a hairup, I’ll braid your hair for you.  Our youngest being the only girl (with a short haired Mum until recently), we never had a name for those elastic hair thingies.  Hairup was a word she brought home from a sleepover at a friends house where 4 girls live.  She brought it home in a bag with all the rest of her new girly bits and pieces.  Sorry.  That’s just a visual image that flew through my brain and out my fingers before I could stop it.

Chookens:  Go and see if the chookens have laid any eggs.

Nilk: Could I have some more nilk in my cereal?  Oh boy, if any of these children hook up with hearing impaired, lip reading partners, we are going to have introduce some serious family habit breaking. For some reason nilk is said with a long emphasis on the n : nnnilk.

Garry: everyone has a special family name for a grandparent.  Garry is what the kids call their grandmother, a mangled version of Granny.  When we mention visiting Garry and Grandad to acquaintances, it raises eyebrows.  Garry loves it.  Our friends, Aunty Gik and Aunty Hoo (Nik & Sue) will similarly be called Gik and Hoo by Stepford Husband and myself forevermore, even if the kids are embarrassed by our complete lack of maturity – oh how the tables have turned!

Do-ning: Whatchya do-ning? (Translates to: what are you doing?)  Perhaps a better way to spell it would be dooning.  I can’t set the table, I’m dooning something else. This was a word one of the kids said habitually for the first speaking years of their lives, and now we all say it so often, that we have to remind the youngest it’s not an actual part of grammer.  She thought it was the present tense of done…it kind of almost is.  Done – dooning.  I get it – thousands wouldn’t.

Chirotractor – well sure, it makes sense to me.  If Mama doesn’t see the chirotractor, she’s no good for anything!  And tractoring is what it takes to get these joints back into alignment!

As soon as I post this, I’ll remember more.  What’re some of yours?

7 thoughts on “Family vernacular

  1. OMG! I’ve been calling them ‘chookens’ since we first got them, when I was twelve.

    I can’t wait to get chookens again. Soon, I hope.

  2. Jack’s version of nilk was “elk” which was really cute until the first day of school was looming. So to cure him of this cute habit I bought a plastic toy elk; whenever he asked for a glass of elk, that’s what I gave him. Took about a week for the joke to wear thin and for milk to be the new norm. Even now he’ll ask for elk just to see the smile on my face, remembering his baby words.

  3. I took a course once on language acquisition, and I can picture using this list as a quiz: Why did the child say it this way?
    I bet if the chookens got into the rumpust, they’d be bomited out the door by Garry and Grandad, even if they weren’t dooning anything except sniffing at the nilk and the hairups.

  4. Trish: You’ll have to have chookens on your farm to eat all the scraps from your garden and save you driving back into town to buy eggs on Saturday night!

    Jack’s Mum, I would crack up to see a glass of Elk…that’s a beautiful family memory that will live on and on 🙂 and also a great lateral thinking moment for any parent of a 5 year old!

    Lavenderbay, language acquisition fascinates me..was it an interesing course…I forgot another one: talleps…which came from tablets, but means any medication: have you had your cough talleps? I think we need to get some worm talleps. Mama needs some head talleps. And that bad mother beaut: Mum do we have any nit talleps left??

    Did I mention how clever you are to put all the words correctly into a working sentence? Clearly you have a knack for languages.

  5. Aw, shucks…
    Yes, it was a highly fascinating course. The bit that stayed with me most was how children go from saying things right to saying them wrong to saying them right again. They start out by mimicing (“doon”), then learn and apply grammatical rules (current action takes -ing ending, hence “dooning”) and finally learn the exceptions (I ate, not eated, my cookie; I’m doing, not dooning, a picture puzzle). All this, before they even start school.
    (“Talleps” would be as you described, big-people words in little-people mouths. )

  6. I am so proud that I have been referenced as part of the Hill vocabulary!

    Chookens must be a mother thing, cause Val calls them chookens too…

    love you all GIK!

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