Little Gems of Language Use

For parents who wonder about their child learning to write, that they should think more about their opportunities to play with language in amusing, fun, but real-life ways, than about whether they can "compose a sentence." My sister posted this on facebook:

Irene Adams
Tomorrow night Dylan C. Lomon and I shall perform well rehearsed syncronized masterpieces of musical magic. If that proves to be too difficult, we'll just jam-out. The High Country Saloon, Chama, NM. Fri, Feb 10th, 7-10, No Cover charge


One day when Kirby was 12 or so, several of us were at a park. I was with another adult friend of mine who had been living in another state and didn't know my kids very well. Kirby had borrowed the car keys to get something from the van, and brought them back to me, but I asked him to put them in my basket, about eight feet from where I was standing. He kind of slumped and showed the great difficulty of complying with that request, and my friend said "Would you like some cheese with that whine?"

Kirby stood back up while looking my friend (Cathyn, for those who know him) down face to foot, and back up to his face and said: "Would *you* be cutting it?"

OH MY GOD, it was so wonderfully timed and presented that I took the keys and Cathyn bowed to him and complimented him.

Later I asked Kirby where he had heard that, whether it was a quote from a movie or something, but no, he had come up with it on the spot.


A few months ago, Holly had a bunch of friends over (oh, probably her birthday, so November) and we were playing Wise and Otherwise, which is like playing dictionary--you make something plausible up to bluff. Some of us played it at SUSS, and some at the ALL Unschooling Symposium. But each player completes a proverb from some culture or other. This was "there is an old West African saying" (I think it was): The king is like...

There were eight or ten players--a good number. Holly wrote "...famous and stuff." (The king is like famous and stuff.)
A friend of hers wrote "The king is like a monkey in a piñata." *

I can't forget that image.
*Holly says "monkey in a piñata" was written by Steven Krum, who is the lyricist for a ska group called "The Reagan Motels." They have a site with music to hear, but Holly notes: "Happy music, sad lyrics."

It is so much fun when children play with language.

I was saying a short prayer before eating: "Father we thank-thee for what we are about to receive and let us for ever be grateful." He looked up with a big smile and said, "We're not having salad." Took me a minute but I got it. Let us-Lettuce.

Joanne L.


Small words: Word appreciation—some thoughts about writing Writing "Language Arts"