23 March 2009

Dog Latin

My sister recently blogged that Marmot Dad taught the marmots Dog Latin (like Pig Latin but harder). It is one thing to read that the marmots love Dog Latin and another thing entirely to live it. At dinner tonight I was sitting next to Madame 4-year-old, who, as is her way these days, was referring herself in the third person as Octopus with Eight Tiny Legs and who had pulled her chair right up next to me so that we could be special dinnertime friends. Then she started speaking in Dog Latin. She's crazy good at it. And since she's already quite the talker and Dog Latin adds at least two syllables to each word, she was spouting these very long, indecipherable sentences at me.

Madame: Alefaunt, woulefud youlefu, plealefease gilifive thelefe Olefoctolofopulefus wilifith Eilefeight Tililinylefy Lelefegs solefome milefilk?
(Aunt, would you please give the Octopus with Eight Tiny Legs some milk?)

MBC: Silent staring

Madame (in Dog Latin): Aunt, I asked you a question.

MBC: Mentally scrambling to untangle this crazy marmot talk

Madame (in Dog Latin): Aunt, is this too hard for you to understand?

Yes, yes, it was too hard and the more the marmots spoke to me with their little earnest faces the more ridiculous it all seemed until I couldn't answer them (even if I could understand) because I was laughing too hard. Madame 6-year-old lamented that "big girls can't speak Dog Latin," but then she and her sister took pity on me and spoke slowly and quizzed me on body parts in Dog Latin, like we do with tiny children who have just begun to speak, and praised me and patted me on the arms when I came up with gems like Golefo tolefu belefed (go to bed!).

Also, tonight my sister was reading the little girls The Boxcar Children before bed, and she read the very chapter that changed my life as a child--the chapter in which Henry demonstrates how to use a spoon as a knife. When I read that in elementary school, I immediately recognized that using a spoon handle as a knife was right and true, the preferred method of spreading butter for orphans. And as I was all about orphans, I stopped using knives. You never know when you might suddenly be orphaned and need such survival skills.


Jen said...

I adored the Boxcar Children. That series constitutes my very first memories of reading books with chapters!

Heidi said...

The spoon has always been my favorite utensil. :-) I'm going to have to use some Dog Latin--it looks about as hard as any other language I've dabbled it!

Eliana said...

Love the boxcar children, thanks for the memory. And my brain feels tired just trying to handle dog latin--you are a good aunt.

MBC said...

The Boxcar Children IS a fantastic book. I'm glad you all enjoyed them as children, too.

I discovered today that the key to dog latin is to just talk, don't think. It comes rolling off the tongue. Next time I see those little marmots, it's gonna be ON!

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