There are things that people's children say to my son that he finds confusing. Example: "watch out". Seriously, people - THIS is what you say to your kids instead of "excuse me"? Watch out? There was a little boy in the pool at the same time we were and he kept saying "Hey, kid, watch out!" and Liam didn't know he was speaking to him, because those simply aren't words he knows. We also don't say "look out" or "beep beep". How many people do you know how say "beep beep" to other humans but who have NEVER honked their car horn because "that's rude"? ADULTS who say this as if we were all Sesame Street characters? I'm not a muppet, and I have been known to say "Oh, did you mean 'excuse me'?"
Second: "huh?" How many times a day does someone look at you with that dumb, scrunched up, "I'm an idiot" face and say "Huh?" like you're the stupid one? My son says "I'm sorry, could you say that again?" or "I didn't understand what you said." Or something along those lines. If you give my son the idiot face and say "Huh?" he's probably just going to look at you, eyebrows raised, and wait for you to form intelligent words.
I'm in school with a girl who speaks like a thug. There is not a single word where she says "ing", it's always "in". As in "Where we goin' for dinner?" and "I was workin' all day." and "We were hangin' out." She slurs her words slightly, like she's too lazy to move her tongue. In spite of these things, she seems reasonably intelligent, gets relatively good grades, and will be competing with me for the same jobs in a year. Now, my work is better than hers, my portfolio is better than hers, and I can't help but listen to her talk and think "Why would someone hire her over me? She sounds like a gangster." Pretend it doesn't make a difference, but it does.
Would you say "watch out" to a stranger? A coworker? Your boss? If not, why would you say it to the people closest to you? Do you forget your pleases and thank yous when you're at Thanksgiving dinner with the family? How about Tuesday night on the couch with pizza? Every generation says the one after them is screwing up the world. Lately all we hear about is how rude and impatient children are. Guess where they learn that? Oh, yeah - right at the family table.
Ha! I typed this up a few days ago and was letting it settle a little before posting it. It's kind of angry, isn't it? And yet, true, so I'm posting it anyway.