"Trying to think of what to write my column about," I said. "Any ideas?"
"Do something on language," he said. "I liked that run-on sentence column."
I thought for a bit, then said, "I suppose I could do a column about how my children use bad language."
"Bad language!" said Seymour. "What kind of #@%$* father are you?"
"Not that kind of language," I said, "At least not yet. They're just four and six. What they do is use language badly, or creatively. It's wrong, but is so cute we often laugh. And a lot of what they do is experimental learning which I don't want to correct and risk turning them off to speaking or writing."
"I remember an aunt I wouldn't talk in front of," said Seymour. "She always told me not to end sentences with prepositions. That's something she couldn't put up with."
"Exactly," I said. "Matthew wrapped a bunch of scarves around himself and said to me, 'Look how bundled I am up.' I just laughed because he'll figure out the correct way to say things, if there is a correct way. I'm not so sure that ending sentences with prepositions is all that bad."
"What do you mean?" asked Seymour.
"Well, Matthew gave me a balloon and said, 'Blow up it.' No ending preposition but it sure sounds odd. Another thing he said is that he liked the silk, blue scarf the best. Now I would say blue, silk but is he wrong?"
"I could ask my aunt," said Seymour. "She'd probably talk about not using the redundant adjective in the second contrapositive mode or some sort of guff like that."
I laughed. "Sometimes I ignore actual errors such as Karen saying 'brang' even though it grates on my ears. And you know, she has never heard either of us ever use that -- I don't know -- I can't truly call it a word because it isn't."
"She's just trying to be regular," said Seymour. Ring, rang, rung. Sing, sang, sung. Bring brang, brung."
"That's why I ignore it," I said, "but I always restate the sentence hoping to bring the word 'brought' to her attention. Of course, sometimes there isn't a correct word. Both Karen and Matthew use the contraction 'amn't' as in, 'I amn't hungry for dinner, just for dessert.'"
"Too bad you can't tell them to use the word 'ain't', but my aunt told me it ain't a word," said Seymour. "She said it made me look uneducated, but I looked it up in the dictionary and it was there as a contraction of are not, is not or am not. The second definition for have not or has not was listed as substandard so I figured that meant the other was standard." He took a sip of coffee before continuing. "But my aunt read the rest of the explanation saying it was disapproved by more educated people. She closed the dictionary and said, 'So you ain't allowed to say it anymore,' and then she cracked up laughing. That was probably as close as she ever got to profanity. I believe it made her a bit hysterical."
I stared down at my empty sheet of paper. "Maybe you're right. I could do another column on language. Shoot, I might just write down our conversation."
"Don't be in too big a hurry," said Seymour, "because I gotta go and you ain't brang the column to a close, yet." He walked off laughing.