Katajija

Scott and Brids katajija Noah

My grandson Noah began to speak, like most children I guess, at about 10 months old, and one of his earliest words was one he made up for himself. It is katajija ( the spelling here is an approximation but it will do). It is a verb. It means to hold one end of something while someone else holds the other end. He has used this word consistently and contextually through his life and a very useful word it is too. For instance: when he and I were in the botanical gardens recently, walking back to the car, I had both hands full. I was carrying the bag of food and nappies (he's still only two), the bike he had got sick of riding and his bike helmet. When we got to the car park and I needed him to be attached to me in some way I said, "Noah katajija the helmet please." And he did.

It really is a splendid and useful word, for which there is no equivalent in the English language. You katajija a Christmas cracker before you pull it. You get someone to katajija a bedsheet when you want to fold it. To skip you need a couple of others to katajija a rope. And it has wider uses that I can think of. Conversations will falter if they are not being katajijaed. And so will relationships. We all know the sinking feeling when we realise that in a chat or a friendship, there is actually no one hanging on to the other end.

So from now on I'll work it into my conversation whenever it seems appropriate. One day you'll open up the OED and there it will be. And you'll know where you heard it first.


Comments

Anonymous said…
That is a beautiful story about honoring first words. And about healthy connection with our loved ones, and appreciating who they are as unique persons. Thank you for sharing.

Finally not to be a typo nerd but your lovely reflection deserves a typo free last line. See below. Cheers Julian

"And you'll know where 'your' heard it first." => "you heard"
Kate said…
Excellent word. What a fellow that Noah is!
Kelvin Wright said…
Thanks Julian. Fixed.
Kelvin Wright said…
A joy in store for you Kate: grandchildren. You'll find yours, as I have found mine to be inarguably the most beautiful and intelligent children on the planet.
Alden Smith said…
Noahs word Katajija is a fine word.

Our grandson has a couple of made up words - Diggada (noun) for a paper tissue. Screwed up Diggadas are placed between the chin and the chest and held tightly whilst being transported to their important Diggada destinations and then released tip truck fashion onto the floor.

Takitaki is another that is shouted out very loudly at railway level crossings much to his parents great amusement.

It's been a wonderful, blessed time listening to our grandsons language development.

Barbara McGrath said…
I just love the photo ! you could think that Katajija means Joy.