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Y is for Yak


Have you ever thought about the order in which we teach our children words? Sure we impart some essentials early on like “milk” and “food”, but the vast majority of words that kids are asked to memorize are completely irrelevant to normal daily human communication.

My son has several ABC books and we have checked out dozens (not an exaggeration) from our local library and what has struck me about these books is the words that are selected.

“Y is for Yak.”

Um yes, while that is true, it is also for a word I much prefer to hear “yes” which has finally made it into my son’s vocabulary after two years! You know what other words start with the letter “Y” that are infinitely more useful to communicating: you, yellow, yogurt, yard, young, yarn… I could keep going for a long time before I got to “yak” which is really only pertinent if you live in the Himalayan wilderness. There is a poplar song right now of YouTube fame called “What Does the Fox Say?” (it’s ok, I’ll wait, go watch it) which draws attention to another bizarre thing we do. We teach our children noises of animals that they won’t see (unless they live on or visit a farm) before we teach them how to tell us they are tired or that they want a new diaper. Why are we wasting this learning time on “yak” and “boa constrictor” and “gorilla”? I’m not a speech pathologist, but I think kids would be far better equipped to communicate thusly throwing fewer tantrums if we gave them some useful language to work with! End rant.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. kate C. permalink
    10/22/2013 13:41

    Ha! funny! We were given one ABC book from our neighbor that had lots of things for each letter, but used ‘glove’ for G… fine, but the picture was of a boxing glove?!?!? And there were some other equally bizarre and/or terrible ones that I can’t remember… I’m pretty sure we recycled that book before our last move.

    • 10/22/2013 13:57

      We had one that used C is for Cap which we thought we very strange because who learns to call it a cap before they call it a hat?!

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