My aunty’s name is Flora. Almost everyone who knows her calls her Flo. When we, my cousins and I, were born, we were all told, ‘this is aunty Flo’ and we all said ‘Tuyo?’ ‘Say Flo’ our parents corrected. ‘Tuyo’ we all confidently replied. We couldn’t get our tongue to say Flo. So Tuyo it was, and the name stuck.
That is what she is called to this day.
Sometimes getting inspired to say something differently by a child is a positive thing, but many times it confuses children. When we ask, ‘do you want a nana?’ I’m sure the child wonders, ‘I thought that thing was called a banana, but now it seems it’s actually called a nana, I shall correct myself. I have been saying banana this whole time and no one has corrected me!’
You see, when the child says banana, and it comes out as nana, we think that’s so cute. But they are actually just saying banana. Then we go ahead and start calling the thing nana and end up not teaching the child the right way to say it.
I met a young lady who asked her 6 year old if she wanted to eat chele (mchele). I was perplexed and kind of sad. The child is already 6 years old, not an infant by any standard, but she was still stuck on the cuteness of her saying chele for rice.
Surely baby talk is only for babies.