Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Linguistic creativity

Very ladylike
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
Our recent holiday in Italy brought home to me what incredible creatures small children are. Catriona, who at the moment speaks more French than English, nevertheless seemed to know that she had to speak to us in English - so would demand "book" of her Grandfather every morning before breakfast, leading him by the hand to the sofa in the morning sun which streamed through the door. And by the end of the week she had learned to say "Ciao" to all the Italians who greeted her as "bellissima bambina", though her preferred greeting remains "Hi!"

But the most memorable of her words is one which is all her own. Catriona hates having sticky hands or a dirty face - indeed, does not like anything to be messy, wet (mouillé - including the pool!) or untidy (brings on the need to "rangé" - arrange - the books, toys or whatever). Because of this urge to be clean, she is always demanding a damp wipe, like the one which which she is daintily dabbing ice cream off her face in the picture - in a cafe in Colle di Val d'Elsa. The French word for these wipes is "lingette". But usually she uses them for her hands - "mains" in French - and so she demands a "maingette".

I love it. In fact, whenever I feel my fingers sticky - like after picking up jam in Tesco - I feel the urge to wail "maingette!" Perhaps we ought to patent the name for future use. Ciao!


  1. Mrs Tosh6:40 AM

    The difference in approach to dirty faces made me laugh. Alan loves have a dirty face and hates having it cleaned.

  2. Chris, Catriona is such a little DOLL! Oh gosh....that photo is so precious. How wonderful to spend a vacation with family!!!!

  3. What a creative girl. Check out this blog about 'whole langauge' reading for children, enjoy