Our little etymologist is fascinated by the origins of words—both the where and why of them. Who called it a dog? Why? Why do we still call them dogs? Why do we not call them “cats”? What other random syllables might we assemble to name the thing currently named “dog”? Language is an agreement, Laurea tells her in the bath one night, that things should be called things and not something(s) else. Kina’s own language is an agreement that she formed with us in the first few years of her life (and, notably, in one extremely solitary and formative year of her life in 2020—we see that take shape in the absurdist headlines of this newspaper.) It feels strange at times to watch as her language evolves as an agreement with others, too—as she becomes a New Yorker in her choice of words and accents. She’s part of the big agreement now, as are her parents and their parents and her friends and their parents.
It’s just easier to call them dogs. Saves time.