Saturday, September 14, 2013

Haley

These days Maybelle has started saying "haley" a lot.  She says in a pleasant, observant way.  At first I thought it was the name of one of her classmates.

"Do you mean Holly?" I'd ask.

"Haley!" she'd say.  

"Greeley?"

"Haley!"

"Dante?"

"Haley!"

Then I noticed that she's using the word in particular contexts, like when she's carrying around Lela, the girls, the monkey, Bolo, Dora, Boots, and Swiper.

I held up one of the girls.  "Is this Haley?"

"Girl," she responded.

"What's her name?"

"Girl."

Hmmm.

In the last 24 hours, I've started wondering if "haley" in some way refers to the whole cohort of folks that she carries around.  This morning, walking down the hall with her arms full, she announced "Haley!" quite happily.  Then when she'd been on the porch with them for a while and I called her in for breakfast, she said, "Haley!", then looked at me and said, "I want help, please" so that I'd aid her in picking everybody up.

So:  what is she saying?  Is there some word that sounds like "haley" but means "bunch of folks"?  Could haley be some sort of slang term that I'm completely unaware of?  Is it a misinterpretation of a word or phrase that I say (like, "Hell, yeah"--except I so rarely say that)?

That's what this blog post is about.  I'm looking for some brainstorming, folks.  Help me figure this out.

15 comments:

  1. Hm. Could it be a greeting of some sort? Hey lady comes to mind, but I don't think she'd be saying that. Have you tried, "show me Haley?" just to see what happens? You could also ask her teachers to see if they have some sort of routine at school that involves that word shape. So interesting! I want to know too :).

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    1. Yeah, I need to ask her teachers. I think it might well be something from school.

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  2. Hayley Mills comes to mind. Is Maybelle watching the original parent Trap? Or maybe she's saying "parlay" although I cant fathom a reason for a 5 year old to know or use that word. Other than that, I'd go with what Cate said and ask her to show you Haley.

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  3. My son Oliver suggests that Maybelle might be saying, "Hey, lady!"

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  4. I am thinking about this and will weigh in soon, but in the meantime.... I'm just glad she isn't saying "Miley"

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  5. Is it possible she's saying "Haley" as a replacement for "Help me"?

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    1. What word does her teacher use to refer to the whole class? For example, how does she call all the kids together or focus their group attention?

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  6. As in so many linguistic transactions, there are multiple things that could be signified by the delightful signifier "Haley." It sounds like some sort of greeting, sounding close to "Hi," "Howdy," "Hey" and "Hello." The "ee" sound sometimes works as an affectionate nickname (as in "Consie"). And the "l" might just be fun to say. It seems like a good word to use when you're being pleasantly observant.
    {A character on the Simpsons was looking askance at a coined word in the Springfield town slogan, "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man." When the character questioned "embiggens," another character defended it--"It's a perfectly crumulent word." This anecdote does not answer your question, however. It just that I often like invented words like Maybelle's.}

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  7. Could she be saying "heavy"?

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  8. a variation of the phrase, "hey, y'all"?

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  9. So do you have any more insight into what Haley means to Maybelle? I'd like to think that she's come up with a variation on Howdy. :)

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  10. My daughter had a similar word that took some time to figure out. "Hebby." Turned out to be Heavy.

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