Wednesday, May 13, 2009

And That's Why!

This is a mirror post (with one addition) from my main blog Dusty Pages. I figured since it had to do with language, it would make a good post for this blog; but since it's also about kids, I wanted it on my main blog as well. So if you already read it over there, you may want to just skip to the additional info in red.

I love some of the words and phrases that
young kids come up with. We hang on to them in this house for just as long as we can because we think they're precious. That's why when Andrew said "ball bearian" instead of "ball bearing" we didn't correct him. And that's why Eler Beth pronounced it that way, too. When Andrew would ask me if I would do him a "favorite" instead of a "favor", I didn't correct that either. For every cute word or phrase they came up with, they would usually correct themselves in time, just from hearing us use the correct word or phrase. I think the "ball bearian" one was the only one that survived to kindergarten for both kids. (And in case you're wondering why a small child would even know what a ball bearing is, Thomas has always had various sizes of steel ball bearings in his possession for one reason or another, and on rainy or cold days, he and the kids used to build these elaborate tracks all through the house or apartment for the bearings to travel upon.)

I recently was going through some boxes and found evidence of one of our favorite Eler-Beth-isms. It's one that Thomas and I still use to this day, although Eler Beth can't remember saying it. From the time she learned to talk until she was about three she would say it. The phrase is "that why."

What I found down in a box on a top shelf of a closet was another smallish cardboard box, holding a few sea shells and some fossils. But apparently at one time it had held "school stuff". I know that it had held "school stuff" because it said so on the box.
And since the instruction written on the box was in my own handwriting, and since Eler Beth's signature was in her pre-school handwriting, I know that it dated from before she could write much more than her name, so the "school stuff" would have been things that she considered "school stuff", things that we were working on at home. And from the "that why" that was part of the instruction I know that she couldn't have been much more than three years old when she dictated the instruction.

When Eler Beth said "tha
t why", she meant "because." For example, instead of saying, "I'm ready for lunch because I'm hungry," using the Eler-Beth-ism one would say, "I'm ready for lunch, that why I'm hungry." Or instead of saying "I need to go to the store because I'm out of bread", one would say "I need to go to the store, that why I'm out of bread." And when you think about it, it does make since. At two and three years old, she didn't understand or know (or accept) the word "because" for some reason, but she certainly understood the concept of "because", didn't she? For what else does "because" mean if not "that's why"? Why do my joints creak when I get out of bed in the morning? Because I'm getting old, that's why. Why do I hate buying gas for my car these days? Because the price of gasoline is so high, that's why. We don't use "that why", Thomas and I, all the time, but we do occasionally toss it into our conversations to add a little bit of spice and nostalgia.

And what was the precious message on the box that my little one had
dictated to me all those years ago? It was this:

"Nobody don't touch this box, that why it my school stuff!" And it was signed with a very wobbly "ELER".

I wanted to share this story with you, "that why" I knew you'd enjoy it!

Eler Beth at about the age when she would have said "that why". She was posing so prettily here, and then just when I got ready to snap the picture, she scooped up her skirt! What a meanie-mite!

I had to include the picture, that why she's so cute!

(I cropped the picture so that those of you who are concerned that the other one might embarrass my girl can rest easy now. lol)

The etymology of the word "because" is this: From the fourteenth century it has had the meaning of "for the reason that" or "on account of". Quoting The Oxford English Dictionary of English Etymology, in Middle English it was written, "bi cause, i.e. bi BY CAUSE, after OF {Old French}par cause de by reason of."


Beth said...

What a fun post, although I'm sure Eler Beth might take exception to that picture of her young self!!

Big Mark 243 said...

I like this entry, that's why it is cute!!

Lisa :-] said...

My husband and I use a whole bunch of words that were coined by my nieces when they were little...those nieces who are now 39, 37, 30 and 17.

We is all old.

Anonymous said...

Eler Beth is beautiful.

This tells me I need to go back to 6th grade & start from there. ~Mary