There is a very interesting (Darwinian) book by one Steven Pinker called The Language Instinct, and part of it is about the innate knowledge humans seem to have (exampled by very young children, remote societies, speakers of pidgin English, and others) about sentence structure. How, for instance, does Inge know what an adverb is? And yet, two or three days ago she told me over lunch that her friend Payton had been blowing her nose “hardly.” I of course have never said any such thing about nose-blowing. Nor have I told Inge about helping verbs; and even so, a common construction in Inge-speak is “was-been,” as in, “I was been cleaning my room.” 

And, still speaking of languages, Lewis has his own dialect. It should be called “Eh-weh.” A one-year-old friend of ours recently visited (with her family) from Texas. She spoke Doy-doy-doy—a resonant, boinging sort of speech, very much unlike Lewis’s language, which is replete with airy syllables, delicate assonances, front rhymes, soft labials, and hard-breathed h’s. His favorite word is “Uh-Oh,” I suppose because it is free of consonants. Mama and and Baba are much more risky, as one never knows whether the labials will cooperate or not: an intended “ma” is so likely to come out as “ba” instead. Dada is more of a sure thing. But Uh-Oh was conceived in the planet Mercury, and echoes of its silver-splashed beginnings still ring in Lewis’s ears, and the glory of its wafting down still shines in Lewis’s eyes. It is a thing of beauty, and a joy forever. “Say Uh-oh, Lewis,” we urge; and brown eyes shine and little cheeks glow, and with zealous ceremony Lewis says “Ah-Ah! Ah-Weh! Uh-Weh!” And then, carefully, “Uh….oh.”