Nonsensical semantics in the house

A lot of the funny in-jokes and pet phrases in our little family are things we’ve been saying so long, I no longer even recognize that they’re not proper semantics.

It’s kind of like how you get so used to your own clutter, you stop seeing it after a while. Except it’s like I’m tone deaf to my own words.

Forcing my hapa baby to be a Chinese baby.

I came home and greeted my husband, then asked him, “What doing?”

We three have been saying “What doing?” for a really, really long time. For us, it’s an inquiry as to what someone is doing, or by illogical extension derived by inference, how they are doing. (Yes, so the senselessness just keeps on going.)

Claus finally stopped me and said, “Why do we even say that? Where did that come from?”

Wow! Why DO we say that? I forgot to note that I’ve been walking around sounding like an idiot for a decade!

Ironically, I am paid to speak. Like, my whole job centers around the deft use of words, yet the words I am saying do not always make sense.

Hello! I talk nice.

While I contemplated the origin of this phrase, Claus continued wondering. “Why did we drop the ‘are you’ from the sentence? Was it that much more energy to use those extra two words?”

“I think it has to do with Olivia learning to speak,” I guessed. As with so many other life changes that added to the richness of our lives, we thought our daughter’s first stabs at speech were adorable and we would often laugh and repeat it to each other.

We still have a few gems that crop up regularly: eyebrowses, narsals (nostrils), and that national favorite, pasghetti. We also kept alive, “Put it in there,” which Olivia used to say and then point to her mouth when wanting to be fed.

Then there’s “peanut work,” referring to tedious paperwork. That’s a long story involving Paris, a toddler, and a raided mini-bar. That little explanation makes no sense, does it? Welcome to this blog’s theme.

So while we don’t specifically remember any “What doing” moments from Olivia’s toddlerhood, we’re pretty sure that’s the correct theory.

Knowing doesn’t change anything. “What doing?” continues to live in our family lexicon, along with a whole bunch of silly words and phrases that give history and texture to our lives.

Author(s) on this Post

Diane Ako

Peace of mind By Diane Ako I like to reflect on life. Sometimes it’s philosophically. Sometimes it’s humorously. For all its beauty, life is far too difficult a journey to take alone. You need the support and connection with others to help carry you along the way. Writing brings me that connection– within and without. It clarifies my thoughts and feelings. It helps me reach out to others for advice, wisdom, or feedback. Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions become you. A wise yogi- Patanjali- said, “Speak what is true. Speak what is pleasant.” Let’s speak of things pleasant to one another and seek some peace of mind along the way. ABOUT Diane Ako joined Hawaii: In Real Life in October 2016. She likes being part of a community of local bloggers – people who like writing and sharing, like she does. Ako is an anchor/ reporter at Island News (KITV4 – ABC) in Honolulu. She previously anchored and reported at KHON2 (FOX) and KHNL (NBC), and at stations in California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. She freelance writes for NMG Network's magazines. In between news jobs, in 2017, she launched and ran her own p.r. company, Diane Ako PR. From 2010-2014, she headed the public relations department at Halekulani Corporation, which oversees luxury resort Halekulani and boutique hotel Waikiki Parc. She’s been blogging since 2009 – before Hawaii: IRL, she wrote for The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest daily newspaper, where her stories garnered a dozen journalism awards and an Emmy nomination. Ako has a BA in Communications from Menlo College and an MA in Political Science from University of Hawaii at Manoa. She volunteers as a board member of the Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Cultural Foundation, a Shinto shrine maiden at Daijingyu Temple, a citizen-scientist studying shrimp, and a yoga teacher at a senior center.

Diane Ako has 274 posts and counting. See all posts by Diane Ako

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