Language Arts and Dog-Nab Idiosyncrasies

On the "davenport" with "Gramcracker"

On the “davenport” with “Gramcracker”

Hopefully at this point you have written enough about your own “Cast of Characters” that you have writer’s cramp or finger fatigue from typing! With the Holidays looming, the new story fodder will be coming in strong! So get caught up if you aren’t already. 

Our topic today is “Language,”  Everyone I know has a weird little name for one thing-a-ma-bopper or another.  Doohickies count too.  Today, think about the people in your family tree and try to remember some of the odd words they may have used.  When I say language, I am using the word loosely.

I have a certain female relative who “worshes the deeshes, and then wrinches them off real good in bolinhot water.” Windshield washer fluid is “the little doggy who pees on the winders” in some circles. And per family tradition we refer to the Thanksgiving Turkey as an Aardvark. Why an Aardvark you ask? Because it sounds funnier than calling it a Thanksgiving Harbor Seal.

This exercise can be solely an adventure of phonetically writing out some words to preserve a particular “accent.” Or, certain phrases that a person or group always used. Another way to display these jewels can be in the natural course of telling a story.

I immediately think of the tale of a few of my uncles out hunting raccoons one night. The youngest of the bunch, my Uncle Louie, stood in the dark waiting patiently for instruction from his older brothers. When the more experienced hunter-guys found a raccoon they chased it, whooping and laughing hysterically, intentionally toward poor Lou.  The terrified animal saw Louie’s still figure in the dark and, probably mistaking him for a stubby tree trunk, ran full speed up him and in a full-on state of panic clambered it’s way strait to the top of Uncle Lou’s head. Famously, Louie proclaimed in his thick immigrant accent “He climbed me up! He climbed me up! The Sonovobeech he climbed me up!”

My Grandpa Farmer was known for several counties around, for many things actually, but particularly for using the phrase “dog nab…”  Dog Nab was a name (noun), an adjective, heck, he used it as a verb too. He never cussed, he just dog-nabbed instead. Sometimes he was referred to (when someone was starting to stir his ire) as the Dog Nab :

“hey fella, I wouldn’t poke at the Dog Nab if I was you”

...sage advice.

It could be something simpler, like what exactly people you are related to and those who “marry-in” call the television’s remote control.  Remote, clicker, zapper, dad’s other arm?  Or speaking of dads, our family refers to French Toast as “Bull Winkles” like the cartoon moose. Why?  Because my dad’s family called them “New Wrinkles.” Why New Wrinkles?  I Still haven’t chased down a source for to cite for that one yet!

So use accents, oddities, old world phrases or new messes made from old, and describe some “language” for your generations to come.