I feel sorry for anyone attempting to learn the English language. We have words that do not translate to other languages. In addition there are regional and localisms. Then throw in a few words that are spelled the same, said differently or mean more than one thing and you can wind up one confused person.
A couple of recent conversations with my kids made me think twice. First I had to explain four times to my then kindergartener that no, we were not wearing makeup for (snow) make up day. She had likened it to PJ day.
Next came the evening we were at soccer practice for her oldest sister. Another parent’s car battery had died. So we watched as another car parked perpendicular to it, hoods went up and then the "strings" got hooked to each one. "What are those Mama?" Upon attempting to explain jumper cables to her I got, "Are they gonna jump?" Well no, they are not. This bothered her for a few weeks. She asked me several times, “Why are they called jumper cables if they don't jump?” Anyone?? I think this could be a good addition to someone's stand-up routine if you can come up with the punch line.
While I am somewhat used to her literal take on things, it catches me off guard when my entering middle schooler hits me with one.
She was the recipient of a highly coveted YMCA travel mug won at the AwakenHaiti mini carnival. She was reading the care instructions when she asked me, "It says stainless steel. Does that mean it won't get spots on it?" I was doing something else at the moment and was not really thinking about her question. I said, "Have you seen the fridge?" She looked from the fridge to travel mug and back again with a confused look on her face. At which point I realized what she had asked me. I said I have no idea why they call it that as clearly that is a bit of false advertising. For anyone with the same burning question why do they call it stainless steel??
“Stainless steel is called that because it doesn’t rust or discolor, unlike regular steel or plain iron. This is because of the chromium in the alloy. It’s just enough chromium to cause a chromium oxide layer on the stainless steel.” – http://clearscience.tumblr.com/search/stainless+steel
I'll leave you with this one – a favorite my mother likes to tell. I was a kid—probably 6ish as well. We were out driving around looking at Christmas lights and decorations when I asked mom what does N-O-E-L spell? You can imagine what happened next. She said No-el, I whipped around in my seat to do a double take and yelled, “There is too an L!”
-by Amy Herd, Sports Registrar