poo-poo head and other baby talk

A. Vine avine at ENG.SUN.COM
Thu Feb 3 22:07:31 UTC 2000

Fred Shapiro wrote:
> On Wed, 2 Feb 2000, A. Vine wrote:
> > Out of curiosity, what is the first cite for "poo-poo head"?
> 1985 _Wash. Post_ 27 June  When I stepped in recently to stop some
> hitting, the new child called me "poo-poo head."
> Actually, I think your question brings up a very good point.  There
> probably is some class of vocabulary (baby words would be one example)
> that is in common usage but that does not get picked up well even by the
> best slang dictionaries. I don't think "wuss" falls into that class, but
> "poo-poo head" does.

It would be interesting to know where the cut off point would be for slang cites
- I would think it would be between the ages of 12-14, basically the transition
from junior high (a.k.a. middle school) and high school.  But that's just a
guess, thinking about what would be written down, how likely it would be for
adults to hear the slang to write it down, etc.  Even letters between children
would be less likely to have certain words in them.  The only time I would think
certain slang would be written is either as graffiti or as notes passed in
class.  Of course, these days children can just write the note on their PDA and
transmit it via infrared or wireless to another child's PDA.

This is not specific to wuss, but a general thought on children's language.

Andrea Vine, avine at eng.sun.com, Sun-Netscape Alliance i18n architect
"So I just don't see this as an either-or issue as much as an apples
are yummy, and oranges are yummy, too, issue, and every now and then
fruit salad is tasty." -- Matthew Wall

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