ANNAPOLIS, MD—Maisy Jones, an eleven-year-old girl from Annapolis, is generating intense interest from a group of researchers at the Linguistic Society of America (LSA). According to their findings, the child has the remarkable ability to turn the word “mom,” commonly pronounced with one syllable, into a word with four syllables. It appears, however, that this multi-syllabic pronunciation only occurs when the girl is whining about something.
The child’s mother has an interest in language herself, and as soon as she heard her daughter’s expansive pronunciation, she knew the experts would want to get involved. “I called [the LSA] right away,” said Mrs. Jones. “It’s not every day that a person makes that big of a shift in language and speech.”
Linguistics professor Rose Noteboom serves on the LSA’s executive committee and is spearheading the study into the fifth grader’s unusual pronunciation. “It’s amazing really,” said Noteboom. “In normal speech, she says the word just like anyone else does, but whenever she gets upset or emotional, it comes out as four distinct syllables.”
The LSA is planning to continue to observe the girl and see if the linguistic anomaly continues into her teen years. It is unclear whether the girl’s whiny pronunciation is ever successful in getting her what she’s begging for.