A love letter to words

Words are gifts and weapons, with the power to comfort or wound, so take care what you say

I measure my granddaughter through inches and words and, as a clearly neutral observer, have decided she is a diminutive genius. At five, she is tiny but her vocabulary seems ample. She is at times "frustrated" with her father, "disappointed" with her mother and would prefer if people did not invade her "pirate space".

She hears words and dutifully repeats them, sometimes slotting them perfectly into the right context or making a beautiful mess of pronunciation. On weekends, she informs me, she has just returned from "ginastics". Indeed.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 22, 2019, with the headline 'A love letter to words'. Print Edition | Subscribe