Oi! Rules are being broken here.

Pronunciation update. Bitti can’t say oi. This is utterly devastating for her. The citizenship test is going to be a real challenge since she cannot join in on the bogan refrain, ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi … ‘. I wonder where they will send her?

It’s not just ‘oi’, I mean how often do we really say that anyway? Any word that contains that sound is also out. For example, boy, toy, toilet, which become ‘bey’, ‘tee’, and ‘teelet’ respectively. Took me a while to remember this strange quirk and adjust so I could understand what she meant. God help anyone else who is attempting to converse with her about toys or boys (who, by the way, are different from girls because they wee standing up and she’s super jealous of that).

She’s also struggling with ‘au’ sounds, as in naughty. Lots of us are ‘neety’, which can be perplexing. Luckily her childcare has recently introduced her to a new system for classifying behaviour whereupon ‘naughty’ behaviour is red and ‘good’ behaviour is green. So there’s a lot less ‘neety’ based confusion going on now. The list of red behaviours is quite funny. There are some standards that have you nodding along, like yelling inside, talking when the teacher is talking, but then it all takes a swerve into stuff that you would only think to add if you worked in childcare or prison. Biting. Kicking. Using paddle pop sticks as shanks. I joke.

We have had quite a few chats about red behaviour (why is the bad stuff always so much more appealing than the good stuff?), and we’ve added a few more to the list for home.

  • Jumping on the kitchen table
  • Scratching on any fabric surface
  • Not sitting still to be patted nicely
  • Licking the butter
  • Hiding behind the bookcase
  • Getting under mummy’s feet when she’s cooking
  • Licking ones own arse

You might notice a theme in this list. The cat is under a new regime now, and he needs to get with the colour-coded program before he finds himself re-assigned to another, colder district (the backyard). This cat is so red he should start learning Russian.


Occasionally, when the cat is exhibiting green behaviour Bitti is able to get a few pats in. This led to discussion of the difference between patting and stroking. She decided that patting is quick up and downs, whereas stroking is long and slow ‘sides’. It makes sense, I am enjoying how she is figuring these things out through experience. She’s getting an instinct for language.

Looking forward to many more chats about words in the coming years. For now, I am getting marked red whenever I correct her wrongly conjugated verbs. She runned fast after she felled over, and no one will persuade her otherwise. Teeth well and truly gritteded.




  1. Teddyboy Ben · July 17

    We, on the other hand have had a regression with Stinky. From speaking quite correctly, we now have many sentences such as “Me want …”. It is possible this is not regression but an attempt to make my brain explode. He still occasionally forgets and constructs sentences with complex syntax, which does make me wonder.


    • themamalinguist · July 17

      That’s funny about the regression. Bitti sometimes seems to go backwards too. She loves to pretend to be a baby, maybe it’s part of that. Or maybe it’s just normal language acquisition for their age? They’re experimenting so much to learn all the exceptions to the rules.


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