Word for Wednesday: K is for Kid!

Wednesday is Jungle Jingle day down at the Jungle House, which is available to members of Jungle Tots to use for organised play sessions.  I think whoever established Jungle Tots perhaps got a bit carried away with the jungle theme when they arrived in Brunei and discovered that it did indeed have quite a lot of jungle. There are also play sessions on other days called Jungle tumble and Messy play in the jungle!

But the one that my little girl really loves is Jungle Jingle.  An hour of parents and tots, singing songs together, ‘playing’ (for want of a better word!) musical instruments, doing accompanying dance and movement.  They are learning language and rhythm and coordination and a heap of other things, but it is noisy and silly and the kids love it.

Kid (noun).
  • a young person; child
  • a young goat 
  • a generalized reference to someone especially younger or less experienced 
Derivation: Middle English kide, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse kith kid.

First Known Use: 13th century.  It was slang for ‘child’ as early as the 16th century, and established in informal usage by the mid 19th century.

 

Today, ‘kid’ is commonplace in the English language across the world.  It is so widely used to mean children that even dictionaries that once gave it as secondary slang now list it above the (original? alternative?) meaning – a young goat.

Some people have very strong opinions about the use of the word kid in the context of children.  Their argument is that it is sloppy, inaccurate use of language, representative of a more general social and linguistic decline in modern culture. Strong feelings for one little word!  I confess I am not in that camp myself.

Sometimes I say children, sometimes I say kids, depending on the context.  I also think they can convey different things, depending on the way they are used.  I want my daughter to have a rich tapestry of language at her disposal, so she can really express herself.  I don’t want to hear everything described as ‘nice’ or ‘good’.  Equally I’d like her to know when it is appropriate to say ‘children’, when to say ‘kids’; how they are different from ‘teenager’ or ‘toddlers’.

A Year in the Merde focuses on the cultural differences between the French and the British, and is an entertainingly light-hearted read.  In this excerpt I think Stephen Clarke provides a classic example of an author very deliberately and effectively choosing the word ‘kid’ for purpose:

‘I was also sick of my neighbors, as most Parisians are. I now knew every second of the morning routine of the family upstairs. At 7:00 am alarm goes off, boom, Madame gets out of bed, puts on her deep-sea divers’ boots, and stomps across my ceiling to megaphone the kids awake. The kids drop bags of cannonballs onto the floor, then, apparently dragging several sledgehammers each, stampede into the kitchen. They grab their chunks of baguette and go and sit in front of the TV, which is always showing a cartoon about people who do nothing but scream at each other and explode. Every minute, one of the kids cartwheels (while bouncing cannonballs) back into the kitchen for seconds, then returns (bringing with it a family of excitable kangaroos) to the TV. Meanwhile the toilet is flushed, on average, fifty times per drop of urine expelled. Finally, there is a ten-minute period of intensive yelling, and at 8:15 on the dot they all howl and crash their way out of the apartment to school.’

(Stephen Clarke, A Year in the Merde).

Regardless of whether she’s a kid/child/bambino/bairn, here’s our little Jungle Jingler, doing what kids do best: making noise!

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9 thoughts on “Word for Wednesday: K is for Kid!

  1. wrightsolution

    Ha ha! You made me laugh with the quote from Year in the Merde. I don’t know the Nepali word for “Merde” but perhaps I should find out and right my own version. Great post ;o)

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    1. jenny Post author

      Thank you, so glad you liked it – it made me laugh too! Yes, there’s definitely scope for that – in quite a lot of languages I should think! :o)

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    1. jenny Post author

      Thank you, Amy. Sometimes her face is so full of mirth and mischief – I love it when I manage to capture it. :o) Yes, she really was delighted with the noise she was making.

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  2. Madhu

    Your jungle jingler is adorable! I expect kids will be kids (I use ‘children too sometimes!), but one reason we chose the top floor when we bought our apartment (now that we are well beyond child rearing age) was to avoid some of the noise effects described in that excerpt! 🙂

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    1. jenny Post author

      Thank you Madhu! Aha – wise thinking – the top floor is always a good call…for noise limitation and views! :o)

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