Are you acquainted with the 100 Most Used Words in our language? Well I am. Very well, as it happens. Mr Justice keeps bringing that list home from school (along with the less-successful sequel, “The Next 100 Most Used Words”) and recently I found myself doing a very close analysis of them. And my oh my, hasn’t school holiday cabin fever well and truly set in… Ah, happy happy days.
A quick overview: “Dog” made the list. “Yes” and “Good” made it too, but interestingly enough, not “No” or “Bad”. Same goes for “Mother” (in) and “Father” (out). But then “Man” made it but not “Woman”. And “What” “When” and “Where”are there but not “How” or “Why”. Hmmm….
What does this list say about our society? That, through our choice of words, we are raising children to be a generation of unquestioning Yes Men? That the female of our species is only validated through motherhood? That we write and talk about “dogs” more than we do “politics, “environment”, “religion” or even “Paris Hilton”? (Actually, come to think of it, “dog” might actually cover most of that – particularly Paris Hilton).
“Oh, NDM, chill out,” people like to say to me. “You’re giving the list absolutely Too Much Thought.We know your tendency to obsess. We remember your ‘Tanks For Nothing‘ vent about the industrial relations issues inherent in Thomas The Tank Engine.We think you just need to take a big deep breath and go sort out some laundry or something.”
Of course the really annoying about Those People is that they are right – about my tendency to obsess AND my need to go fold and put away some clothes before someone gets crushed by one of those teetering piles.
However, before I banish myself to the laundry, I thought I would do my own list of The 10 Most Used Words in our household – none on which appear on the Official list, I hasten to add. They are:
3. Sorry (usually follows “Ouch!” but only through constant prompting)
7. No! (often pronounced “Now-ooh”, somewhat resembling Audrey Hepburn’s mockney accent in “My Fair Lady”)
8. Shibby-shibby-shibby (That’s The Pixie talking)
9. Bored (Mr Justice)
10. Shit (used by only the adults of the house in a myriad of circumstances, e.g. “Shit, we’re late for school”, “I’m sick of cleaning up this shit!”, “The kids are really shitting me today” or even just “Shit shitty shit shit shit”)
I’d also like it stated for the record that the word “please” is missing from both my list and the Official list. No surprise there, then.