November 06, 2009

Talking like a 14 Year Old

I'm back on line. Sometimes computers are such a pain in the neck.

I haven't been posting on Valour-IT because I haven't even made my donation. It didn't feel right to make a big push if I've not put my money where my mouth is... or my fingers for that matter. That comes Sunday. I'm thinking.

As usual, a few stories, starting with this one.

Ringo is struggling in high school Honors English. It is completely his fault. He has an awesome teacher who expects a lot from her students. It's a lot of work, memorizing, writing. He's being lazy and disorganized and I support her whole heartedly in not only her expectations, but her approach.

She is an amazing teacher.

When I met her at Open House last week, I thought she'd hug me. It seems that not all the students not faring well have parents who 1) check their grades or 2) bother to call and find out what they can do to assist in correcting the negative course.

So he got in the car today and said to me, "I think I didn't do well on my vocab test today..." and the following conversation occured to the best of my recollection.

Me: why.

Ringo: Because she gives synonyms and the ones she gives aren't necessarily the ones I memorized.

Me: *blink* *pause* Ringo... that's ridiculous. A synonym is a synonym... they all mean THE.SAME.THING.

Ringo: I know. But. Mom. She picks these long words that are confusing and nobody is ever going to use. Ever. I mean... it's bad.

Me: Did you make flash cards? I'm helping you study for the next one.

Ringo: Flash cards? There are SIXTY FIVE WORDS!

Me: Hunh. I'm helping you study. I want to see them.

Ringo: Fine. They're in my vocab book at home. Words like... atrophy. I mean, who uses a word like atrophy?

Me: *blink* *blink* ARE YOU NUTS?! I use atrophy all the time. For instance, "Ringo, I think your brain has atrophied due to lack of use..."

Ringo: Ok, bad example. Still.

Flash forward to getting home and finding Ringo beside me with his Vocab book.

Ringo: Fine. Apathy.

Me: Apathy. Not giving a sh**. YOU are apathetic about English.

Ringo: Nice. Arbitrary.

Me: I can't frickin' believe this. I use these words all the time. Random. Pick something. You were arbitrary in your selection for answers on your vocab test.

Ringo *glare*: Arbitrate...

Me: Good Grief. Your uncle goes to arbitration. He's a lawyer. He uses that word every frickin' day. Probably every hour.

Ringo: Here you go. Assimilate...

Me: Please. Children assimilate... for instance...

Ringo: Forget it. Astute...

Me: Ringo. I use these words ALL.THE.DAMN.TIME. Are you kidding? Really? On top of things. Perceptive. Please.

Ringo: You know what? Only you use words like these. No. Only you AND Big Daddy. You all are weird. You're the only people who speak like this...

And for the purpose of this post, I skipped the words, augment, atone, attrition, and austere. As I looked through his vocab words, I use all of them. Benign, belligerent...

But you know... I'm weird. Me and my Dad. We're weird. According to a 14 year old... and this is from the kid that's a reader. College level at that.

Posted by Boudicca at November 6, 2009 05:08 PM

Verily, I use them, too.

But... my useless degree is in English. Oh the ignominy of it all!

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at November 6, 2009 05:28 PM

Bwahahaha! Ignominy will be one of his words! Classic. My Dad will love the fact that obsequious is also one of the words. That's a family fave.

Posted by: Bou at November 6, 2009 05:46 PM

I am abashed to know that Ringo considers me odd. *sigh* And my degree does not pertain to English. *grin*

This reminds me of when my son was first going to his tutor in 9th grade. She gave him a vocab test and he tested above Senior level. She said he was the first kid she had worked with who knew the meaning of the word "feint". I never worked vocab with him, but he loved reading about Napoleon so I figure he picked it up there. ROFLMAO.

Posted by: Teresa at November 6, 2009 05:58 PM

I'm pleased with some of the words RTY speaks. You know she picks them up from me, and it makes me so proud!

She's very proud of the fact that kids at school look at her like she has 3 heads with some of the words she uses.

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at November 6, 2009 06:08 PM

Bou: I hope they are doing the Greek and Latin roots for studying vocabulary. It makes all the difference in the world! I suppose if it is a Catholic school, they would definitely do that.

I've got one for you. This one rendered me speechless. I was reading a thread on Sondra K's blog. It was about Charmin bath tissue company hiring seasonal helpers in New York, to hand out TP samples at mall restrooms during the holiday season. The ad said applicants had to submit a resume and a letter that expressed their enthusiasm for relieving themselves.

The youngest son was reading this over my shoulder. He said, in disbelief, "I can't believe they are advertising for a job like that. They'll have every coprophiliac in New York signing up. If they want someone who likes poop, why don't they just advertise on the fetish sites?"

I was impressed with the words, but horrified at the ease with which he said them. Not sure whether to be concerned about this or not. He is only 12.

Posted by: PeggyU at November 6, 2009 07:27 PM

*I* use those words, too!! And I majored in Chemistry!

Posted by: kay at November 6, 2009 07:54 PM

Have him try this.

Posted by: jon spencer at November 6, 2009 07:56 PM

Why not give Ringo a 1,000 word challenge and have him write a short story incorporating all his vocabulary words? By the time he's done, he'll know what they mean and how to use them... and he'll NEVER forget them!

Posted by: Omnibus Driver at November 6, 2009 09:17 PM

Not building up your vocabulary when you're young is an egregious error.

Posted by: Angus of Argyll at November 6, 2009 09:31 PM

Dad- Egregious is not on his list!!!

Teresa- Feint. Wow. That is old school wording!

Peggy- I asked him if they were teaching the Latin and Greek and he said they were. I'm just going to have to start drilling him. Good Grief. And coprophiliac?! Holy crap! (no pun intended...) I didn't even know what that meant!

Kay- I'm not an English major! My Dad isn't either... we just read, obviously as you do!

Jon- Free rice is an excellent idea. I've done that and hadn't even thought about it.

Omnibus- Oh he would hate me. I'm better off drilling him. Good Grief. But he'd surely know them!

Posted by: Bou at November 6, 2009 10:22 PM

LOL - oddly enough, with all the school troubles he had, my son had an excellent vocabulary and he could read beautifully after some specialized help early on.

Sadly this did not help him in areas where his learning skills were deficient (and the regular teachers couldn't be bothered). But it is the one thing he always had going for him.

Posted by: Teresa at November 6, 2009 10:39 PM

This site use to be free and still has some free stuff... it is pretty frick'n funny and you remember the words.

Posted by: vw bug at November 7, 2009 06:49 AM

Too many kids these days have become dependent on textspeak. That may be part of his problem. It's much easier to memorize "LOL" than "austere".

Posted by: diamond dave at November 7, 2009 09:26 AM

I'm always telling my students that the easiest way in the world to *sound* smart is to increase your vocab...but I suppose high school kids aren't as into sounding really smart as 4th graders :-)

good words, use them all the time. Ever read "Murder with Peacocks" by Donna Andrews? my mom loves it just because of the impressive vocabulary used unpretentiously throughout.

Posted by: S at November 7, 2009 09:40 AM

Bou, we are weird. We write, we read, we understand the power of language. Haven't you noticed that a lot of people just ...blink... at you when you use proper English? I end up having to restate what I've just said in words that I used as a 3rd grader....sigh.

Posted by: Nancy at November 7, 2009 07:56 PM

See if you can get him to learn "defenestrate".

Posted by: Harvey at November 8, 2009 12:02 AM

Assimilate is my all time favorite word. I use it daily.

I use all those "big words" a lot too, picked it up from my dad who was a skilled labor who used those words all the time at work.

Mr Weenie has started to pick up my "big words" bad habit.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at November 8, 2009 11:16 AM

Yep! I use those words all the time. Like when a spinal cord injury occurs, the muscles below that level atrophy. Muslims refuse to assimilate.

Posted by: Denny at November 10, 2009 05:06 PM