My Child Teaches Me

My American child taught me that saying “baseball ball” is wrong. The name of the ball is baseball. Weird as that is.

She’s also teaching me the correct American intonation patterns. I try to imitate her but, as a native speaker of Russian, I have a very flat natural intonation. At least, I’m Ukrainian and not Russian, so my affect isn’t flat.

On my part, I teach her to range problems in the hierarchy of importance because she already started picking up at school the idea that everything is “a horrific problem that hurt my feelings.” Also, I’m teaching her that difference of opinion among friends isn’t a catastrophe but something normal and actually good.

8 thoughts on “My Child Teaches Me

  1. ..she already started picking up at school the idea that everything is “a horrific problem that hurt my feelings.”
    What kinds of things were ” horrific problem[s] that hurt [her] feelings?”

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    1. A friend didn’t like a picture she drew. Another friend had a difference of opinion on unicorns.

      It’s cute when they are five but when a colleague tells me “something terrible happened” and it turns out she locked herself out of the office from which I have a master key, as everyone knows, it’s kind of annoying.

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      1. “Another friend had a difference of opinion on unicorns”

        What did you expect, few issues divide the American public quite as much as the Unicorn Question… As the old saying goes, never talk about politics, religion or unicorns.

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  2. “My American child taught me that saying “baseball ball” is wrong. The name of the ball is baseball. Weird as that is.”

    Perhaps consider softball, netball, volleyball etc. since the ball in those sports aren’t called softball balls, netball balls, volleyball balls respectively either.

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      1. Sounds tedious. It’s logical and suggests that Russian is a better language, but still – tedious. Any idea what the Germans do?

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  3. A general rule of thumb: if the name of the sport takes the form of (sport)ball, then the ball involved is also just called (sport)ball. If the name of the sport doesn’t take that form — take soccer or polo for example — the ball is called “(sport) ball.” So you have basketballs and baseballs, but you also have soccer balls, tennis balls, and polo balls.

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