Monday, 18 January 2016

It is moony tonight, extra vocabulary thanks to my autistic son

So apparently it's getting darker later? I haven't noticed and neither has Anthony. All he knows is that when he's dropped st his learning club after school it's light and when he comes out its dark. It will probably be quite a while yet before he comes out and it's still light. He makes great observations on the way home.  His latest one made me smile. He looked up at the black night and said "The moon is very bright, yes, it's very moony tonight."

I loved this. At first I thought this was a funny way of adding a suffix to a word. I'm pretty sure Anthony had already been taught about adding -ed, -ing and recently -s to words. I thought it was incredibly sweet to add -y to moon to describe the clear night as characterised by the moon. Just like it being cloudy or sunny during the day. 

Of course, I was disappointed to learn that more commonly 'moony' actually means something else. I don't think using words oddly is in any way related to Anthony's ASD, it's just part of learning and growing a vocabulary. When it's actually the wrong word this is a case of catachresis, the (accidental) application of a term to something which it does not properly denote.  Getting the meaning wrong.

Here's a couple I found that apply quite well to Anthony. 

Anthony has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), so would you say he was very restive?

No? Well if you think restive means peaceful or rested you'd be wrong. In fact Anthony is very restive. It means unable to keep still or silent and becoming increasingly difficult to control. 

When he's restive might he be noisome?

Generally no. Although Anthony can make a complete racket when he's constantly moving he's only seven and rarely works up a sweat. Maybe when he's older he might be noisome, which actually means to omit an odour, but then I'll just have him run around in the shower for a bit.

And is he enervated?

Yes? Well sometimes, but not if you are thinking it means energised. Enervate means to cause someone to feel drained or weakened.  Anthony can actually be enervated. One of things people often get confused about with kids with ADHD is thinking they have piles of energy. But imagine constantly being forced by your body to be on the go - it can be exhausting when you just can't stop and you are restive all the time.

And finally moony. As a boy with ASD Anthony sometimes struggles to interact with his surroundings. So, I smiled when I looked up moony online to find that it describes someone as dreamy and unaware of one’s surroundings, for example because they are in love. 

So for the past few moony nights I've smiled and been all moony, whilst remembering my moony son and his sweet moony thoughts. 

Links

Our blog - When everything with four legs was a dog, generalising language and autism

External (source) 
Smooth - Words that mean something else  

As listed in:



  1. Life Unexpected  Little Hearts, Big Love
The Reading Residence

20 comments:

  1. I think his use of the word 'moony' is lovely! perfectly sums up a moonlit night. And it's interesting to read those other words whose meaning are counter to expectations - I'd heard them but wasn't aware of their meanings. Thanks!

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    1. They are cheeky deceptive words aren't they!

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  2. I love Anthony's use of "moony" to describe the fact that the moon was very bright - even if it isn't quite the correct meaning of the word. I've learned a new word too thanks to your post - "catachresis" is not a word I'd heard before so thank you for teaching me that and for sharing the real meanings of some other words that are commonly used incorrectly. Thank you for linking up to #ftmob :-)

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    1. Yeah, I had to look 'cat...whatever it is' up too!

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  3. Moony seems a great word and one we should all use rather than the more ahem traditional meaning! #wotw

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  4. Oh, I think Anthony used moony perfectly, it does sum up those nights so well, doesn't it? Our language is so fascinating, I do enjoy posts like this exploring it. Thanks for joining in with #WotW, lovely to have you.

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  5. Moony is a great word and it should mean a new, bright moon. Maybe if enough people use it in this context it can take on a new meaning!
    #wordoftheweek

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  6. I love his use of the word moony and love even more that you found a description of it that fits so perfectly. I can't wait for the lighter evenings. A sign that summer is on the way. Thank you for sharing this on #whatevertheweather x

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    1. Drier days please, we really need the trampoline back. With ASD and ADHD, the boys literally climb the walls. Bring on the garden please for more fun like this: http://rainbowsaretoobeautiful.blogspot.com/2015/10/issues-when-anthonys-always-aloud.html 😂😂

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  7. I love his description of moony. The word itself sound so beautiful. The transcending of its meaning means so much more. #whatevertheweather x

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    1. Transcending... You've taken me to another level 😀

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  8. Love this! As an English teacher I find words really interesting anyway but asd has given me another perspective on that too :) #SpectrumSunday

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    1. That must have been a helpful background for a mum! I started lecturing after having kids. Turns out I was far better and enjoyed teaching my old profession more than doing my old profession! Hope it made you smile.

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  9. 'Moony' I LOVE this!
    I need to use this word. :)I love the words my son comes out with too. :) #SpectrumSunday

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  10. Perfect world and there is so many words that different meanings cause at the end of the day someone somewhere chose to link a word to the meaning. It was man created so fair play I say it is nice to have your own words that are personal to you. X #spectrumSunday

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  11. I think moony is the perfect word to describe a beautiful moonlit night. When I was little I liked to call the leaves falling in autumn 'leafing', taken from the same idea as rain falling being raining and snow falling being snowing. It's interesting to see the language through children's eyes. Thanks for linking up to #Whatevertheweather :) x

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  12. I love this! Very sweet, but a very clever post too! I have now found a new word i love! Moony :) Thanks for linking up to #spectrumsunday lovely xx

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I read all your comments and appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me and our readers. I welcome any feedback on my posts and you can always contact me directly. Thank you.

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