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A formative, family-friendly factoid from a survey or study in the news.
BY The Editors
Could your family fill a small glossary with zany, made-up
words and phrases that no other family — make that no other human being — could
possibly decipher? If so, your words stand alone but your family doesn’t. In
March Paul Dickson, author of Family Words: A Dictionary of the Secret Language
of Families and the even more descriptively titled Family Words: The Dictionary
for People Who Don’t Know a Frone From a Brinkle, told the Sacramento Bee that
bizarre family sayings often catch on because they’re handy as shorthand for
old jokes and treasured memories such as toddlers’ first tries with language.
And, if you’ve spent any time around a 10-year-old boy, you know some entries
in the loony lexicon seem to just drop in from some weird warp in the
time-space continuum. Katherine Jewsbury Conger, a professor who studies family
and sibling relationships at the University of California, says such home-bound
linguistic innovation may serve a purpose: adding to family identity and
cohesion. Wacky family words, she told the newspaper, really do “create a
special intimacy.” Absotootlee.