[Ads-l] Children's speech errors; 3 examples

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Sat Sep 8 15:11:44 UTC 2018

For some time I've been collecting examples of children's

misinterpretations of words or phrases whose meaning are

beyond  their comprehension. One example from the Pledge

of Allegiance:  "for livercheese and jello for all" (with liberty

and justice for all).

Here are three that were recently brought to my attention:

"flutterfly" -- A grandfather told me his 4 year old granddaughter

      says this for "butterfly."

"O rotten doughnuts" -- The same grandfather tells me that as a

    child this is now he understood the Latin phrase (taught in

     religious school) "Ora pro nobis" (Pray for us").

"underbrella"  Another grandfather told me this is how his 3 year

      old granddaughter says "umbrella."

And give the children credit: Imho "flutterfly" makes more sense than

     "butterfly," and "underbrella" (implying something you're under)

      is also a totally reasonable re-interpretation.

   If anyone has any additional examples of such misinterpretations in

children's speech, I'd of course welcome receiving them.

Gerald Cohen

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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