I just ran across an interesting article in the Boston Globe (should have this motto: We’re still alive!). Erin McKean, a writer for The Word column about language and use, tackles a news story in which a principal banned the word “meep” from school because too many kids were saying it too often.
For those muppet fanatics, this is cool. “Meep” is what Beaker says most of the time and so for young kids to be appropriating invented Muppet language for their own world … wow, cool. I guess the principal had some other ideas about it (“We wouldn’t ban a word just to ban a word,” he explains), but as we all know, banning a word only makes it stronger and more valuable as language currency so I am guessing there is more “meeping” going on in that school than ever before.
My older son, looking over my shoulder as I was reading the column, said, “We meep at our school, too. Well, some kids do.”
Honestly, I have not heard one of my own students doing a “meep” but maybe I haven’t been listening close enough. And maybe there are connotations that I am not privvy to knowing (quite likely, as I am an adult).
McKean closes the column out with this:
All words mean only what we all collectively agree they should mean, no more and no less.
I leave you with a video of Beaker singing a meep-filled “Ode to Joy.”