A Word in My Language

March 30, 2013


It’s been speculated that for autistic people, the language they are taught as they grow up is in effect their second language, and that they translate their thoughts from a different sort of language into this second language.

I’ve liked this idea since I first read about it. It really does feel like I’m trying to translate my ideas into words that aren’t mine. My natural language of thinking is based more in patterns and images, but it does have a few words in it. I’d like to share one of those words today.


“Da” is my native word for the quality of being exactly as I desire it. If something is just the right temperature, moved in the right place, just the right color, it’s “da.”

Around people, I don’t usually say it, but sometimes it slips out. If I’m alone, I say it pretty freely. Like this morning, I was setting the water temperature for my shower. As the temperature got closer and closer to right, I said to the water “Da? Da? Daaaa? Da!” The English translation would have been something like, “Are you there? Almost. Almost. Yes!”

Sometimes it will get mixed in with my English as well. Where most people might say, “And done” I would say “and da.”

All in all, “da” is a lovely word. I like it when things are da. Da is happy, ordered, safe. I certainly like it better than da’s opposite, “atatata”, which is pain or when things quickly become disordered and wrong. But that’s a word for another post.


  • Jester Queen says:

    That is a fabulous word. My daughter’s version of this is ‘duck’, which has nothing to do with the egg-laying variety. Her first word, at 9 months old, was “duck”. And it was also her only word for the next several months, and the only one that wasn’t a repetition of something she’d heard on TV or from us until about 18 months old. But she was a happy kid, always, and so she’d scoot (she never crawled) around on the floor murmuring “duckaduckaduckduck” to herself. She still does this if she’s feeling particularly contented.

    • Jester Queen says:

      Which makes your blog particularly delightfully named by my standards!!

      • Alex says:

        Thanks Jessie. I remember your story about your daughter saying “duckduckduckduck”. What I don’t think I ever told you was that it’s apparently contagious. Since that story, I’ve found myself saying “duckduckduck” under my breath a few times. 🙂

  • Thanks for the insight you brought with this post!
    I followed Jessie the Jester Queen here, and I’m glad I did. 🙂

    • Alex says:

      Thank you for visiting. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I do hope you’ll find more here to interest you. – Alex

  • Mike says:

    Most of the time I have a hard time conjuring the correct word for a specific item when trying to explain something. For example if you asked me what I did with your sandwich I would reply that it’s in the electric heating device rather than “microwave”. I see things for what they are or actually do rather than their specific name. If that doesn’t work then I just say the first words that come to mind whether they have anything to do with that said item. For example car or truck might come out “purple uni-dragon”. I know it’s weird but at least my wife understands me even when no one else does

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