Kids sometimes make up funny words. A few of the most memorable words created by our daughters over the years include:

– Dubberfly (butterfly)

– Purpur (purple)

– Burcept (except)

– Jamamas (pajamas)

We didn’t bother correcting these words because, well, they’re cute. Besides, we figured they’d straighten them out eventually. And for the most part I always understood how they thought these words were valid. Children are phonetic creatures who pick up language patterns from their environment. And yes, they eventually straightened out all of these words. Sadly.

But lately, I’ve noticed both our daughters using the word ‘brang’ for the past tense of ‘bring.’

“It’s the ball I brang to school last week.” Or “She brang me a book from the library.” 

But ‘brang’ is not so cute to me. It sounds ignorant. So when I hear them use it, I’m quick to interject the correct term. Sure, they’ll straighten it out eventually – they’re smart kids. But this ‘brang’ has been kicking my ass lately.

Then last night in the shower I thought about my Anthropological Linguistics professor who spent an entire semester convincing us that there is no such thing as a primitive language. That every syllable of every word in every language has a distinct purpose and meaning to those who use it. And then it dawned on me that what my kids are doing with the past tense of ‘bring’ was perfectly logical to them.

Ring = Rang

Sing = Sang

Bring = Brang

There is no primitive language. Not even kid-speak.


Yes, it’s another picture of our daughter, Cozette.


Jim Mitchem

Meanderings: Random Thoughts from a Troubled Mind (28mar11)

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.