SemanticsPosted: December 9, 2014
Pretty sure I just lost a linguistic argument with my four year old.
We were summoned upstairs by a loud thud followed by crying. Das Big Boy had fallen out of bed. I snuggled while DBB dispatched his father to bring him some ice for his nose. Said ice pressed to his face, he began to chat.
DBB: What’s the opposite of cold?
DBB: The opposite of warm is cold.
DBB: What’s the opposite of truck?
HH: Well, trucks don’t really have opposites…
DBB, interrupting: The opposite of truck is duck.
HH: No. Those words rhyme. Truck doesn’t have an opposite. See, only adjectives have opposites. An adjective is a word that describes something. But a thing can’t have an opposite. Like cat, or milk, or building. Those don’t have opposites.
DBB: What’s the opposite of man?
And that’s how he outsmarted me. His (troubling) binary views of gender aside, he totally won that conversation. And yes, I now see that my argument was flawed because descriptive nouns and verbs can obviously have opposites, but I was caught off guard and trying to educate a sleepy four year old who had a recent nose injury.
Also, I promise to discuss the Christmas tree and its three, yes THREE, praying mantis cocoons tomorrow.