A sibilant possessive

On Friday afternoon, one of Babess’ teachers asked me, “What does it mean when she says ‘ss-sss-sss-sss’?”  I had no idea, having never heard her do that.  Normally the teachers are at least as good as I am at figuring out what the kids are saying, so I was quite surprised.  We chatted for a while about what it could mean, but didn’t get anywhere.

I’ve heard the “sss-sss-sss-ss” several times now.  Babess still talks about herself in the third person, and this seems to be how she says “Babess’s”.  So, showing me her bag, she said “Babess-ss-ssss-sss-sss bag”.  Poor wee thing, it’s quite a mouthful for her!  And she varies the number of “sss”es, so sometimes it can take her a long time to get the words out.

She doesn’t do it to any other possessive that I’ve noticed – if something belongs to her brother, it’s “Fainjin’s”, not “Fainjin-ss-sssss-sss-sss”.  But hers is the only name in the family ending in “s”, so that’s the one she’s struggling with.

I expect she’ll have it all worked out very soon – which is one reason I write about it here, so that in a year or so I can look back and exclaim “Oh, I’d forgotten she did that!”.

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