What Mothers Say vs. What Daughters Hear

A funny interpretation of motherspeak vs daughterspeak

by Mary Gordon
mother daughter cartoon image
Photograph: Mark Matcho

A group of linguists from several notable universities has applied advanced computer software to the study of two languages that have heretofore been ignored by their profession. The first language is spoken by mothers of adult daughters who are mothers themselves, the second by those same daughters; they speak the languages only with each other. Although the grammatical patterns seem similar and there may appear to be shared vocabulary, linguists have determined that these languages function by tone and inflection, so that speakers have difficulty understanding each other. The new software is designed to clear up certain otherwise incomprehensible responses.

Motherspeak: “You look nice in that yellow shirt.”
Daughterhear: “Thank God there’s one color you don’t look hideous in, so I don’t have to be mortified every time you go out.”

Motherspeak: “Would you like me to babysit for the kids so that you and your husband can have a night out, just the two of you?
Daughterhear: “Without my intervention, you are heading straight for divorce court.”

Motherspeak: "I hope you’re taking time for yourself so that you’re not run ragged meeting everyone else’s needs.”
Daughterhear: “You need to go to the gym. You are hopelessly out of shape.”

Motherspeak: “It will be wonderful when the baby is finally sleeping through the night.”
Daughterhear: “You are the worst mother who has ever lived.”

Similar linguistic differences have been noticed when daughter speak is heard in mother hear.

Daughterspeak: “I really like it that you’re letting your hair go gray and not dyeing it.”
Motherhear: “Thank God you’re not pretending that there’s the slightest chance you might still be considered young and attractive.”

Daughterspeak: “Would you like me to help you with your cell phone/computer/apps?”
Motherhear: “You are the stupidest person in the world and don’t deserve any of the new technology.”

Daughterspeak: “I hope you’re taking time for yourself so that you’re not run ragged meeting everyone else’s needs.”
Motherhear: “You need to go to the gym. You are hopelessly out of shape.”

Daughterspeak: “I’m going to take a different approach to my kid’s music lessons than you did with me.”
Motherhear: “You are the worst mother who has ever lived.”

Next: The Mother-Daughter Tattoo

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First Published Mon, 2013-02-04 10:56

Find this story at:

http://www.more.com/entertainment/humor/what-mothers-say-vs-what-daughters-hear