Toy fish and noisy x-rays

30 Sep 2016

Iris is 123,456,789 seconds old next Tuesday - she’s getting on - and is starting to learn about reading.

Parents are encouraged to get involved in the process, and so I’m finding my way around the “phonics” system (with the help of Anki of course). The sounds of letters, and of groups of letters, are associated with actions as a memory aid for the learner.

I’m having a little trouble with some the associations from the “official” list (I’m not sure if it really is official, but it’s the one used at Iris’s nursery.) Some of them are almost onomatopoeic, and some are alliterative - which clearly helps them stick in the memory - but a couple have me scratching my heed:

f: Let hands gently come together as if toy fish deflating, and say f, f, f, f, f, f.

Is a “toy fish” something that everybody except me knows about, and is well-known to be inflatable? I grew up without an inflatable toy fish and so, likely will Iris and Finn. Well, I can let that go: substitute “something” for “toy fish” and it makes sense. I have more trouble accepting this one:

x: Pretend to take an x-ray of someone with an x-ray gun and say ks, ks, ks.

Disregarding the fact that you can’t “take an x-ray of someone” any more than you can take a “radio” of someone, certainly not with a gun, I’m still left wondering why an x-ray gun would make that noise, or any noise at all. “Pew pew” would be more accurate, wouldn’t it? That’s the sound of every x-ray gun I’ve ever used.

I like the circular definition here: the letter x is defined by reference to the x-ray, which itself was named after the letter x, because of a kind of undefinability. It’s not quite citogenesis, but it’s medium meta.

In other news, I did actually deflate a (giant, radio controllable) toy fish at work today. Had me a little toke of the extra pure Helium from inside; always good to talk like a leprechaun for a few seconds… He He!

Tags: rant, memory, meta