Friday, April 17, 2009

Scourge of the babbler

There is, as far as we know - and this, following an exhaustive Internet scan - no such word in the English language as "Deyk". In fact, there is no word in Mandarin, Malay or German that corresponds to the sound - which is to exhaust Mum's and Pa's collective linguistic competence.

Yet strangely, the little fella's favourite utterance has been, for the past few weeks, "deyk". Since he's a week shy of hitting that first birthday, it would have been nice if he were now going "Mamma" or "Pa" or even "Confucius" with monotonous regularity. Yet for reasons unclear to us, "deyk" has captured his loyalty. Here's a typical example of how it is deployed, in all its apparently vast flexibility:

Sonny (grabbing a box of tissues and shaking it vigorously): Deyk. Deyk-doo Deyk.
Mum (indulgently): What have you here, Sonny? Now don't play with that. Have this toy instead.
Sonny (grumpily accepting the exchange): Deyk deyk. Deedee deyk.
Pa: Look, what is the little fella trying to say? Can't he just say, "Toy" or something intelligible?
Sonny (noticing Pa's button and beginning to paw at it): Goo deeeeyk. Deyk?
Pa: Speak properly. None of this "deyk" business. And...
Sonny (yanking the button off): Deeyk doogle. Deeeeyk deeeyk deyk.
Mum: That's pretty impressive finger dexterity.
Pa: It's not impressive. Give me back my button! And for heavens sake say something that I can...
Sonny: Deyk. Deyk deyk? Gum gum deyk.
Mum: Hey, it's actually rather catchy. Deyk. deyk. Ha ha ha. Deyk...
Pa: Aargh, the world's gone mad.
Sonny & Mum: Deyk. deyk.

Anyway, you get the general idea. To rub salt into the wound, Sonny has even forgotten the first few letters of the alphabet that he had managed to learn three-odd months ago. He's also firmly resisted all efforts to teach him some regular English words, though he has on occasion given voice to random "Pa"s and "Ma"s just to keep his parents in suspense. We're spooked enough to suspect that the little fella may be perfectly able to belt out regular words, but is simply of a mind to drag out the drama, keeping us on tenterhooks so that we continue to shower excessive praise over the odd word thrown our way.

Meanwhile, though, if anyone knows of any language in which "deyk" actually means something, do let us know. Perhaps Sonny has a mystery foreign friend and is already fluently speaking some exotic tongue. Wildly unlikely, of course. But then again, so is this weird explosion of "deyk"s.

4 Comments:

Jane Blogs said...

No idea what it's all about, but he's certainly got a one track mind!

Cloudsters said...

Or possibly a one-word mind, which would be even more worrying...

Nona Nita said...

Perhaps a language learned in a past life? :>)

Cloudsters said...

Anything's possible, Nona Nita...