Saturday, October 28, 2006

Learning a Language

Do you notice how children repeatedly use new words? I suppose it is to test the context of their use until they can have the confidence to use them properly.

For example, when my children were young, one of the first words they learned is “dangerous.” That’s because I used the word to prevent them from sticking their little fingers into electrical outlets, or grabbing something hot. They would then approach me, bringing me whatever, and asking, “Is this dangerous?” I would also hear them reprimanding each other, or other children, and sometimes even some adults, saying, “Don’t touch that, that’s dangerous.”

When one of them first heard the word “humungous,” it was in every other sentence spoken. Then, of course, everybody else followed and made a humungous effort at using the word.

Well, now, my children are all grown up (eldest 30, second, 26 and youngest 23) and they have learned more words than I, and they use them well. All of them write and speak well and precisely.

But we continue the word-learning game; this time it’s my husband and I who are learning the new words from them. Words we thought we knew -windows, virus, cookies, eyeball, web, thread, posts, mail etc. - have taken on new meanings and we must learn them and use them in their new (well, they’re not considered new anymore – they’ve been around a few years) context. And of course, there are really new or newly invented words and acronyms. What’s “Wiki?” “What’s EB?” What’s “LOL?” “ : )?” My youngest daughter claims that Emac talks to her. Who is Emac? ; )

To keep in touch, and to bridge the generation gap, we must learn today’s language. Using words and acronyms like chat, Skype, YM, IM, SMS, url, EB, e-group, group hug (in one photographers’ forum we participate in, it means a group picture) helps bring us in the same circle as our friends, colleagues and most especially, our grown up children. There are new words and acronyms being invented everyday! It’s a humungous ; ) task trying to learn them all. =)

Sacha likes to blog. Ching has a blog. I’m writing this piece for my blog. Blogs, anyone?