May 1, 2013

"Adult Speak": How Adults Sounded to Me as a Hard of Hearing Child

"This is how they like to talk," I announced to my reflection. "Wa-blah-hubbity-bah-blah-froo.
When I was a little girl, I would often stand on a chair peering into a large mirror in my parents' bathroom speaking nonsense. Yes, I suppose it was a bit strange. I had to find different ways of entertaining myself at home when there was absolutely nothing to do.
It is interesting how, at the time, I thought most adults conversing with each other sounded as if they were speaking gibberish. But, when grownups talked to me directly, I could understand what they were telling me. It was a different story when they talked to each other, especially when they socialized. One time I remember a woman crouching down, facing me, and telling me, "Oh, I like your dress!" When she popped back up to talk to another woman, she garbled, "So, wee bugh bah gah!"
I never understood why this phenomenon occurred. I fantasized about when I will finally become a woman and speak "adult," which is apparently a language little kids such as myself could not understand or are not supposed to comprehend. I looked forward to the day I suddenly speak gibberish as I talk to one of my parents' friends. I imagined adult me casually holding a large mug of coffee, wearing a little black dress, tons of pearl necklaces, and a red beret as I mingle with the grownups speaking our language. I knew that I would be stylish and exciting as I discuss the weather in a new and sophisticated language: "adult speak."
I did not realize at the time that my hearing loss was largely the reason why most adults sounded like the teachers and parents from a Peanuts animation. 
Eventually, I grew bored of pretending to talk like grownups. I did not have the patience to keep practicing. The day I turn into an adult was not coming fast enough.


  1. You write so well! That is what my teachers sounded like in school. I was once surprised when a friend said "that was an interesting class"... "Really?! that sounded like gibberish to me!" I said. I love reading your blog! :)

    1. Thank you!

      I am glad I am not the only one that have yet to master gibberish speak.


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