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Thursday, March 13, 2008


Every young child has a unique way of expressing him/herself.  But having been born into a dual-language environment, Yonah seems to have more than a few quirky expressions that are so uniquely 'him' that it pains me to correct him. 

Here are a few examples (along with helpful translations):

"I want to talk into your ear" = I want to tell you a secret.

"Can I snuggle you?" = I'm lonely in my bed so I want to invade yours.

"My nose doesn't work" = I can't remember the word 'stuffed' and am several years away from knowing 'congested'... so blow my nose already (by the time he says this he usually has a nice pendulum of phlegm swinging from each nostril)! 

"Can you 'shpoch' [Heb: spill] some milk on my cheerios?" = This is what I want you to do but I'm so hungry I can't be bothered to think of the correct English word.

"Where's my 'weeee-oooooh'?" = I can't find my toy ambulance/police car/fire truck, etc. (A cartoon he once saw had a siren that sounded like that, so now Yonah describes all siren-ed things with the onomatopoeic label; 'weeee-ooooohs').

"Look at me!" = I don't believe you when you say you're really paying attention to what I'm saying so I need your eyes pointed at mine!

"I hug you?" (not to be confused with 'I kiss you') = I'm in big trouble and want to get back into your good graces.

"Goodbye-I-love-you-have-a-nice-day" = Yonah's standard phone sign off... expressed as one long run-on word, followed immediately by him pressing the 'off' button.

Well, that's it for now... goodbye-I-love-you-have-a-nice-day!  [~click~]

Posted by David Bogner on March 13, 2008 | Permalink


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Folks, you have NO! idea how quintessentially Yonah this is.... On the first of our 2 recent snow days, we got Yonah all dressed to play outside with the dogs and his older siblings... He took two steps outside, felt the unfamiliar sensation of snow under his feet and shrieked, "Yonah no like-y שלג (sheleg -- Heb: snow)"

The big kids also had funny linguistic idiosyncracies, but I confess that the mish-mash (not to be confused with מיש-מיש mish-mish/"apricot") is especially charming! :-)

Posted by: zahava | Mar 13, 2008 10:30:09 AM


Are you trying to make a statement about conflicting languages with your use of the misspelled phrase "duel-language"?

And, to Zehava on the same note, I understand what Yonah was thinking. I was recently "complimented" by a waiter on the quality of my Hebrish. I think it was when I said "I'll have the 'agvanyot'".

Posted by: dfb1968 | Mar 13, 2008 10:44:23 AM

I'm going to start using that one.

"Benji no like-y arnona."

Posted by: Benji Lovitt | Mar 13, 2008 11:07:29 AM

Ha! Benji!

There is an annual Purim shpiel on our yishuv - a fund-raiser for the local גמח(gemach/charitable fund) and a favorite staple of the show is the booing-and hissing sounds whenever the word מס (mas/tax) is used!

Posted by: zahava | Mar 13, 2008 11:22:02 AM

zahava... This one was especially for you, honey. I knew you'd been up late working on a deadline last night and decided you needed a smile this morning. Mission accomplished.

dfb1968... OK, I see the typo police are out in force. I'll fix that at lunch time... but thanks for the catch. I assure you it was completely unintentional.

Benji Lovitt... It does have a satisfying finality to it, no?

Zahava... I think you're thinking of the actual Megilla reading in the third to last pasuk where it says "And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea." (וַיָּשֶׂם הַמֶּלֶךְ אחשרש מַס עַל-הָאָרֶץ, וְאִיֵּי הַיָּם). The word for tribute - מַס - is the word used in modern Hebrew for taxes, so this usually gets louder boos than when Haman is mentioned. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 13, 2008 11:37:48 AM

as you pointed out -- i am a tad sleep-deprived....

Posted by: zahava | Mar 13, 2008 12:07:23 PM

This is a fantastic idea. From now on, I'm carrying a grager with me to all government offices. When the iriya tells me I can't get my 90% arnona discount because my lease isn't 12 months, I'm going to use it and boo (followed by "Ken, Haman. Hevanti, Haman")

Why should we limit the fun to Purim?

Posted by: Benji Lovitt | Mar 13, 2008 12:31:35 PM

He is too cute for words (pun intended of course) :)

Posted by: orieyenta | Mar 13, 2008 2:40:40 PM

sorry all israeli kids say weeoh - that is the noise the israeli siren makes just like israeli roosters say coocoorico as opposed to cockadoodle doo

Posted by: debby | Mar 13, 2008 2:54:19 PM

Cute!! Definitely Yonah!

Shabbat Shalom!

Posted by: tnspr569 | Mar 13, 2008 3:34:05 PM

It's called "code switching" (that's the first time I've used my degree in bilingual language development since I got here six months ago). My kids (all older) are doing it and I love to hear it.

Their favorite thing is to say "Die, kvar!" ("Enough already")

Posted by: Baila | Mar 13, 2008 3:49:58 PM

We also call these little expressions from our children - Natalisms, etc. Except for us, it's mostly comments they make based on observations, etc. Like when my daughter asked me what shmuck meant and I told her that it meant someone who is mean - a jerk. She was quiet for a moment and then said, "Mom, we sure have a lot of Shmucks at our school."

And like Yonah, my son also use to say "Look at Me" but his was followed by touching my face and pointed it towards him. That's one way of teaching a parent that you aren't paying enough attn to your child.

For those who are interested in reading more about children's wonderful 'isms' - they should check out "Our Kids Speak".

It's because of these adorable isms that I thought up the idea a couple of years ago of having a collective blog on our children's funny sayings and actions. It's with great thanks to Psychotoddler, that he set this up for me, thus Our Kids Speak was created. It's a real treasure trove of wonderful stories.

Posted by: jaime | Mar 13, 2008 4:46:45 PM

I've been known to hiss for "מַס" in the megilla reading (what? Just because I'm liberal doesn't mean that I love paying taxes!)

The last Yonah-ism triggers memories of a running gag on one of my favorite TV shows: "The Animaniacs"'s Mindy's okayladyiloveyoubuhbye... ah, the memories...

Posted by: efrex | Mar 13, 2008 5:12:19 PM

efrex - that's exactly what I thought about! I have the first set of animaniacs dvds in my desk drawer here at work for lunchtime viewing...

Trep - Love it!

Posted by: Jesse | Mar 13, 2008 5:40:48 PM

Hey David,
I know I have not commented in a long long time. I still read the blog, just real life gets in the way sometimes. I love the Yonah-isms. It is nice to have something to smile about!

Posted by: Faye | Mar 13, 2008 8:58:21 PM

zahava... This one was especially for you, honey. I knew you'd been up late working on a deadline last night and decided you needed a smile this morning. Mission accomplished.


I'm STILL upset that I didn't get to meet Yonah! (And I know you're going to say, "So come back!" :))

Posted by: SaraK | Mar 13, 2008 11:41:22 PM

Those are adorable. Our kids definitely keep us entertained with their Raggedy-isms. Yonah's sign-off reminds me of the line my two older ones use, which is "I love you and I like you!" since, as my daughter points out, those two thoughts are not always both true!

Posted by: RaggedyMom | Mar 14, 2008 1:42:44 AM

In the future, Yonah is fated to type KTHXBYE at the end of messages...

PS: I just learned something about Megilla Gorilla!

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Mar 14, 2008 6:24:18 AM

As we were preparing Yonah for bed last night, he emphatically reminded us of yet another Yonah-ism (definitely a bi-product of being more comfortable in Hebrew, but speaking in English): "I NOT to go to bed now. I NOT!"

Posted by: zahava | Mar 14, 2008 9:53:30 AM

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