Handy-Downs, etc.

Camille has coined some truly excellent franglais expressions, but lately Charlotte has been giving her a run for her money.

It is strange that I’m noticing these expressions now at the end of the year here at a time when Charlotte’s English is getting pretty darn close to fluent. Maybe this is why I am noticing them – they stand out when everything else that comes out of her mouth sounds pretty much the way it should.

Charlotte has long been gifted in the creative use of language department. When she was two she got off her Dad’s back after a long piggyback ride, then began to rub her legs and complain bitterly that they were full of “pinchy noodles.” This was Charlotte’s very poetic take on the (rather ho-hum, now that I think about it) expression “pins and needles.”

My first favorite of Charlotte’s recent malapropisms (or they may be categorized as “eggcorns” – if any of my writer friends would like to weigh in on this point I would be deeply grateful) is “Handy-Downs” for “Hand-Me-Downs”…..Well, heck, pourquoi pas?  I mean, it IS really handy to get other people’s clothes for free, n’est-ce pas

Her other one is “Lonely Child” instead of “Only Child” (i.e. Emmy’s mother bought her a whole bag of food erasers; I think she gets all that cool stuff because she’s a Lonely Child.”

I don’t correct Charlotte’s speech, of course.  I am far too Machiavellian for that.  However, I did feel obliged to clear up a misconception about “Lonely Children”.

“You know Charlotte,” I said. “Most “Lonely Children” are very happy not to have any brothers or sisters.  If you were to ask them, I’m pretty sure they would say that they are not the slightest bit lonely.” 

“I KNOW that Mom.”  Charlotte did a very tween-esque rolling of eyes.  “Don’t you know?  It’s just an expression.”

2 thoughts on “Handy-Downs, etc.

  1. A Novel Woman

    Love those!

    When we were kids, we’d dress up in my mother’s “hee hiles” (high heels) and sit on the “fester-eedle” (chesterfield) but apparently I haven’t outgrown it, because I mangle words like “segue” right? (g)

  2. admin Post author

    Dear Pam,

    I mangle words all the time (not just segue, which I’m still not convinced we were entirely wrong about) and the house build we are planning just thrusts me into a whole new world of vocabulary to warp. My latest is “minnions” instead of “mullions” in the windows. *sigh* Have long given up every sounding educated or remotely like anything otehr than a total spaz.

    What do you think re: malapropism vs. eggcorn?

    Bises xo

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