The Ruark Kids

Thali-a’s honorific titles


Among Thalia’s many endearing traits as she closes in on age two is the hilarious and wonderful way she refers to her parents. Given her limited experiences, both with the spoken language and with the number of people she’s come into contact with, the names by which she calls us provide a peek into how her brain is trying to find structure and determine rules in the world around her.

First, the names, as she knows them, of the immediate family:

  • Daddy
  • Mommy (she’d prefer Mama but Thalia works from Mommy)
  • Siena
  • Thalia

Now the thing is, based on what she does call us, the conclusion I’ve come up with is that Thalia seems to consider the “-a” suffix in her name and in Siena’s name to be either a suffix applied to all names or an honorific, something like “-san” or “-sama” in Japanese. So, it’s as if our names are actually:

  • Daddy
  • Mommy
  • Sien
  • Thali

And what she calls us is:

  • Daddy-a
  • Mommy-a
  • Sien-a
  • Thali-a

So when Thalia sees us, she shouts, “Hello Daddy-a, hello Mommy-a!”

Or take the time she was raising her shirt up over her head (thank you, Sien-a) and shouting (because, really, it’s almost always shouting), “I see you Siena, I see you Daddy-a, I see you Mommy-a!”

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