A few minutes before 6 AM today, my six year old son Solomon uttered his first words of the day, saying to me, “Popso, I figured out what the synonym of ‘moose’ is.”
I believe that this statement is important in at least three ways. First, it asserts that at least one synonym of ‘moose’ exists. Second, it asserts that there is exactly one synonym of ‘moose’. Third, it asserts that Solomon generated this lexical knowledge on his own.
I may be reading too much into it, but I’m impressed that my six year old has apparently worked out existence and uniqueness proofs in the domain of lexical semantics.
1. When my 11 year old daughter Zoë was born, I decided that I wanted my kid(s) to call me ‘Pops.’ When Zoë was 2 or so, when I would arrive home from work, she would see me and exclaim “Pops!” to which I would respond “Zo!” After a couple days of this, she took the initiative and did both parts of our dialogue on her own, exclaiming “Popso!” and it’s been my name every since.
2. The derivation of Popso is somewhat ambiguous. It’s either Pops + o, i.e., the ‘z’ from ‘Zo’ is dropped, or it’s Pop + Zo, i.e., the ‘s’ from Pops is dropped and the ‘z’ from ‘Zo’ is devoiced.