Blog: Teaching mother tongue parent’s top responsibility

Iman Issa al Abri

There is this saying, ‘Speech is silver, silence is gold’, something that parents must essentially pass on to their children from early stages.

It is not only important to make them speak with tact, but also make them realize when to speak and remain silent. As kids grow up, they try to imitate their parent`s words. They repeat whatever their parents are saying without going by its merits.

This is not the children`s fault, rather it is solely the parent`s responsibility to choose the right words while talking in front of their children. Sowing the seed of the sweet word in a kid`s mind will make them grow as a well-respected personality.

Then what about the origins of the language, are we using language tact without paying attention to its origins. What words to choose when having multiple choices for one meaning?

George Carlin, American social critic and author, once mentioned about how phrases have turned to be softer and nicer now by changing words under the term of ‘Euphemism’.

Citing one of his performances, he said, “It is a function of time, it does keep getting worst. During my life, toilet papers have become bathroom tissues.” Such phrases are used to avoid embarrassment, but on the other side of the story, such phrases will make it harder for people to say the direct truth.
Another example cited by Carlin is almost 95 years ago during the First World War when a fighting person`s nervous system has been stressed to its absolute maximum and cannot take any more input, that condition was called ‘Shellshock’-one simple and direct word with only two syllables.
During the Second World War, the same combat condition was called ‘Battle Fatigue’ – a nicer and softer words than Shellshock.
Later during the Korea War in the 1950s; the same term was called ‘Operational Exhaustion’ two words with up to eight syllables.
Fifteen years later during the Vietnam War, this term turned into ‘Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder’ (PSTD) one word with only two syllables in about 55 years changed four times to end up with four lengthy words with eight syllables.

The term ‘Shellshock’ was used to describe the power pain experienced, but the abbreviated PTSD sounds normal and softer like any other abbreviated terms.
This is how the phrases and usage of words change from a generation to another. This is how languages evolve during a period of time.
This reminds of the new generation smart phones, when a new system version is lunched and we don’t easily accept some of the changes that come with it. At the same time, with the phone that we have been using normally, we get upset of updating it.
As kids stay with their parents since birthday, it is the parent`s responsibility to enrich their children with language skills.
Imagine your kid having much more words than those in the new dictionaries, this will enhance the kid`s verbal and non-verbal skills to be a great writer or a well-known speaker in the future.