Saturday, 29 October 2011


During a Literacy lesson last week, we talked about what could’ve been said in a conversation between Mr and Mrs Twit, about the fact that they had ingeniously managed to capture an entire flock of birds by smearing glue on the branches of the tree in their garden.  

Child A, representing the average 10 year old writer, suggested that Mrs Twit should turn to Mr Twit and say...


The expression on my face quite possibly said it all and there were a few giggles. Sarcastically, I went on. “Yes, child A, Mrs Twit should then turn to Mr Twit and say lol,” at which point the entire table erupted into uncontrollable laughter because I had said lol.  

This was obviously an exceedingly exciting situation, so I allowed the moment to happen, and then fizzle out, and then we decided on something more fitting for our passage of dialogue – “Go and fetch them down then, you old grouch, or there’ll be no pie for you tonight!”

So it got me thinking about why they laughed. It may have been that, in my professional capacity as a teacher, it was just an unexpected utterance. Maybe they felt excitement for catching a glimpse of my youthful side! Perhaps it was a side effect of relief from having to decide where to put speech marks (they did find it bash-your-head-against-a-brick-wall hard)…

But I think it’s more likely that they just perceive me as being old, and old people don’t say words like that. I mean, OMG, totes cringe! 

The thing is, I want free access to all lexical choices available to me without wondering whether I’m too old to use some words, and it’s only going to get worse with age!

So this got me thinking about when Dad first wrote lol in a text message. It was appalling.  The second time he did it, it was appalling. The third time, it was appalling. Over the years, I've been desensitised to it. Nevertheless, it still manages to provoke a dull cringe.

BUT, now that I have experienced the situation from the oldies side…

Dad – I give you permission to use ‘lol’ freely and without constraint. Paddle in the lexical pool of the Urban Dictionary whenever you feel the desire to broaden your vocabulary.*

And next week I’m going to exercise my lexical freedom too by casually describing something as ‘sick’ at school, just to see what happens.

* Just don’t use any ‘new’ words in surgery.

Or when I’m at home.

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