Say what?


Courtesy of astrycula via Flickr

My family has a keen sense of humor. They do some weird things under the guise of humor. I remember my brother looking in the mirror as he was getting ready for a date and talking to the reflection. “You are one handsome fellow, you really are!” This is a relatively sane person who holds full conversations with the mirror.

One of the other things he was famous for is distortion of words to the point where his younger (much younger) sister would get confused as to what was the correct pronunciation. You probably did it in your family too. One of his favorites (especially in the discussion with the mirror person) was the phrase “suave and debonair.” He pronounced it “su-aave and de-bone-er.” In fact, everyone in the family pronounced it like that. I can only assume that they were being humorous rather than exhibiting a hillbilly background (not that there is anything wrong with hillbillies). Unfortunately, I used the phrase on my junior prom date. Never saw him again!

Some words get distorted because a young child cannot pronounce the correct word and then everyone starts to use the mispronunciation. My cousin Pat, who was slightly younger than me, could not pronounce spaghetti. She called it spis-getters. So we all called it spis-getters. I can tell you this kind of vocabulary severely limits your dating pool.

Many nicknames are started like this too. My oldest brother’s name is Joe. As a child I called him Joe-Joe which stuck for a long time. My theory is that he never answered on the first call but who knows. But that nickname isn’t as bad as some of the other kids in the neighborhood.

I don’t know why but boys don’t use regular names. My neighborhood included Dolph (that was his real name but who would name their child Dolph?), Legs (yep, he was a tall one), Booper (I have no idea why), Dikka (again no clue) and Stitch. All of these guys are now married older men. For guys, stupidity has no effect on dating and procreating. Bummer!

10 thoughts on “Say what?

  1. My grandmother called my dad (her son) Dolph because it was short for Aldolph!! Since he moved to America soon after WW2 it was not a good idea to be known as Adolph. (Wouldn’t you agree?) So he changed his name to Allan, but grandma still called him Dolph. Much safer that way. BTW, my Dad was Swiss, very neutral.


  2. In our house spaghetti was segetti–and still is. My brother always went uppidy stairs. I loved nabbits as a kid–and still do. For the woefully uninformed nabbits are bananas.


  3. “su-agave and de-bone-er” we’re a joke in my house, too. Men’s nicknames? My son has a friend who was introduced to me as “Boner”. What can you say after that?


  4. I love a good nickname! I have twin cousins who, when they were about a year and a half old spurred a great nickname. One of the boys was hearing impaired and had some challenges with mobility, so we would often tell the other to “Go get Connor,” or “Go get that for Connor.” The boy would then tear off screaming, “Go geee.” He actually though his brother was “Go geee” and would offer him things or greet him by that. It wasn’t until he was about 3 that he picked up on the fact his brother was actually Connor. Go geeee kind of stuck, though.


  5. My younger daughter called her older sister “Ba-Ba” until she could pronounce her real name. Believe me the nickname and the real name share no connection so we never did figure out where Ba-Ba came from. Lucky for my older daughter the rest of the family didn’t pick it up and start using it. It was cute when her sister said it but I think I realized that no self respecting girl would want everyone calling her Ba-Ba!


    • We had a couple of those too. My niece Anita was called Nini for a while. You can see where it came from but it’s not something you want to hang around long after toddlerhood. I have heard some very unusal names for grandparents.


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