Nieces sometimes extrapolate from insufficient contextual data

My brother-in-law enjoys greeting his nieces when they come over to visit by throwing them into the air and asking, "叫聲我?" (Who am I?)

The nieces happily reply, "舅舅." (Uncle.)

He then tosses them up into the air a second time and says, "大聲啲!" (Louder!)

And the nieces happily shout, "舅舅!"

One time, my wife was talking with her brother at a normal volume, and his niece came into the room and said to my wife, "大聲啲! 舅舅聽唔到!" (Louder! Uncle can't hear you!)

Update: Per Frank's suggestion below, changed the niece's outburst from "舅舅冇聽到!" The incident occurred many years ago, and I cannot remember exactly what was said, so I'll go with what's funnier.

Comments (10)
  1. Frank says:

    Just nitpicking –

    "舅舅冇聽到" – "Uncle didn't hear you!" (Uncle wasn't paying attention)

    "舅舅聽唔到" – "Uncle can't hear you!" (Not loud enough)

  2. Joshua says:

    Do you think this ~3 year old knows the difference yet?

  3. Antonio 'Grijan' says:

    Kids always extrapolate from what is already known to them. It's part of the way they learn. They are, if I may say it, the most interesting experiment in diffuse logic :-) .

  4. Lev says:

    Just wondering. What's the difference between 舅舅 and a single 舅, which, according to Google Translate, also means "Uncle"? Is it a kid expression?

  5. Drak says:

    Is anyone else reminded of a scorpion by the 舅 symbol?

  6. Unsure says:

    @Lev, as I understand, doubling a word in Japanese is an affectionate colloquialism – perhaps most closely represented in American by something like "Unca" or the use of "Gramps" instead of "Grandfather".

  7. @Unsure, you mean Chinese, right? While Japanese do double some things when speaking affectionately (like 父 (chi-chi) or 母 (ha-ha)), they don't double the kanji usually.  They also don't double with 舅 in this case, possibly because it's outside of the bloodline (it technically means father-in-law). I don't know how Chinese works, so I can't say anything regarding that language and doubled ideograms.

    [In Cantonese, doubling is common in child-speak. For close family relations, it changes "Aunt" to "Auntie", for example. -Raymond]
  8. Unsure says:

    I said I was Unsure :-)

    Glad Raymond chimed in – sounds like I was mixing my Chinese and Japanese idioms.

  9. says:

    Between 舅舅 and a single 舅 is no essential difference. just like "叔叔" (also Uncle, but means father's young brother) or "爷爷"(Grandfather), but single "爷" is different.

    It is very complex.

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