(2nd May, 2011)

In our household, “Nah” is a very popular word. In fact, “Nah” has recently become a very well-pronounced “No”, and yes, the culprit is Elka.

Every question that begins with “Would you like…” is answered by “Nah”. “Nah” is the word used when pushing food away or a loving hand or a loving kiss. “Nah” is used when running in the opposite direction to the direction desired by the parent in question. It is incredibly adorable, if not just a little bit frustrating.
My partner and I started talking about this word, “No”, and if it was something we should encourage (though we must suppress a giggle every time it is uttered with such vehemence). Friends we know try and encourage words like “Yes” and other such words with positive associations. And I can see the logic in that…a “Yes” family, who, when offered food or a cuddle embrace it with a warm and loving “Yessss” sounds very nice.
But then we thought “No” has it’s advantages too. For one, Elka, in denying the offer, is also asserting herself, and I am sure no-one who knows her would deny she is an assertive, if not fiery, young lady. And as she gets older, she will be encouraged to say “No” to strangers in cars offering lollies, or drunken men in bars when she is older still. “No” in fact, has many advantages for a lady.
I am not sure if it’s a myth or not (I suppose I could just use Google to clarify, but there you go…) In Thai, there is no word for “No” for women…Women and men have a different form of language apparently. I think this is interesting (if it’s true) as it seems to put women in a bit of a powerless, submissive position, if they can never say “No”. Of course, saying “Yes” instead probably has a lot of positive impact on one’s psychology, but I am sure there are many occasions when a woman would like to say “No”. So…we thought we would let that one fly.
And besides, it is pretty adorable when it is said with great gusto by a pint sized person!