Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday Thought: Conjunction Junction

So we have a 4-year-old who has recently started preschool. We will call her Phephe (as in Fifi. Don't ask.). Anyway, as with most children of a certain age, they say some pretty interesting things. Here are a few notable quotes from Phephe:

"Mommy, I think you and I need to sit down and have a conversation."

"Actually, I think we should go to the zoo instead."

"Uncle Andrew makes me so frustrated because he eats so many hamburgers!"

I know, kinda random. I was just amazed she knew words like conversation, actually and frustrated and understood their meanings enough to use them in the proper context!
So when we sat down to eat dinner the other day and she decided she didn't want to eat a certain dish that was made she said, "Momma, I amn't going to eat that."
Yes. Amn't.
The husband and I just looked at each other for a moment, stunned.

Just for some background information, my parents came to this country speaking very little English. I grew up in a household speaking 2 languages simultaneously. Even now, we speak both languages, switching seamlessly between the two. When my parents were learning English they were always told it is one of the hardest languages to learn, because there are so many quirks in it.

Phephe has apparently found another. My husband and I tried to explain that amn't is not a proper contraction and gave her "I'm not" to use instead. She nodded and smiled and we continued on our merry dinner-eating way.

So now I'm waiting for the moment when she turns back to me and asks if

IS + NOT = Isn't
ARE + NOT = Aren't
DO + NOT = Don't

Then why does AM + NOT not equal Amn't?

I think I amn't sure what to say.


Rebecca L Sutton said...

How cute! She does have a point there...

When I get frustrated with some sort of word use or grammar thing I laugh to myself thinking of how in reality all of "the rules" were made up by someone. Same thing with the pro sports people obsess over and make millions of off. Some person way back when made this stuff up and here we are breaking our necks to abide by them. Sort of funny when you think of it that way.

It sure would be a heck of a lot easier to speak and write if we could just go with your daughter's method. Amn't sounds pretty good to me! ; )

H. L. Dyer said...

I also was a fan of "amn't" as a child. It cracked my mother up no end.

It still makes perfect sense to me. =)

Dominique said...

Am not contracts to ain't, but that is no longer considered acceptable English, probably because people used it all out of context to just mean no.

Beware of the day she pulls out mightn't.

WindyA said...

Rebecca - yeah, I don't think I'd mind making up some rules of my own!! lol

Heather - I really think innocence makes the greates memories!

Dominique - Mightn't huh? I'll have to remember that one! hahaha

ElanaJ said...

This is totally a contraction. I love it!