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I always try to frame these answers with something more they can understand such as Daddy will be home after we eat dinner or he will be home late tonight after you go to bed so you will see him in the morning when you wake. But we do use the now now here in the states...at least my friends and I do. So funny...glad to see we're not the only ones who need to clarify now!!

I think our version of just now is "in a bit". In a bit can mean 5 seconds from now or sometime whenever I feel like it.

And I agree with Amy, I usually say daddy will be home at supper time.

heheh, I knew someone would make the 'after supper' remark :-) I don't like to use an exact time because sometimes Marko is late and it is terrible having to disappoint them. So 'tonight' is an easy time to process. If I say 'after supper, Adam will finish his supper and expect Marko to walk through the door straight away.

I live in the south so we have some pretty unique sayings. I can't think of any with time like you're speaking off. However we do use the phrase "fixin' to," as in I'm fixin' to go to the store.

With my son, anything that didn't happen today happened "last year". Doesn't matter if it was last week, last month, yesterday, it was last year (or "lasjear" as he says).

Both of my older kids actually had a time when I could negotiate with them using "big minutes" and "little minutes". Where they might not want to wait 5 minutes for something, 5 little minutes was ok. If I told them they could get out of bed in 10 minutes, I might be talked down to 6 big minutes or they might be talked down to 9 little minutes. It really made no sense as they could not tell time at all and they would get what I was offering whenever the heck I gave it to them. It gave them a sense of control I guess. I indulged because it stopped the whining when they thought they were getting what they wanted.

I think Angie is right, "in a bit" (or "in a little while", in my dialog) is a lot like your "just now". "We'll have lunch in a bit" could mean anything from five minutes to maybe 3 hours.

And I think we use "right now" the way you use "now now". As in, "I need this photocopied right now". But depending on the context, it could mean immediately or it could mean an hour or so.

But even though they have similar time frames, "in a bit/in a little while" has a concept of more waiting than "right now" does.

You know, one of the things I love most about my 5-year-old daughter's verbal development is what she (still) gets wrong. So, it's not idiomatic like "now now" and "just now". But she has come up with a few tangled words that she still uses and I (almost) hope she always does. For example:

"Sit benext to me." (Benext relating, of course, to behind, beneath and beside.)
"Can I play on your pah-cuter." (Computer, people)
"My head-fore hurts."

In fact, it has gotten to the point that in our family, we now embrace words like "benext" and "pah-cuter" as though Webster himself had ordained them. Oh, and "plee-an-yo." (Piano.)

And thanks to Charlie and Lola, my daughter does demand that I do things "straight away." If she calls for me and I tell her "I'm coming, I'm coming" (which means I'll be there when I finish what I'm doing), she lately has taken to correcting me. "No, you're not coming because you'd be here if you were!"

(Oh, just thought of this one. Where we live, when people have plans for the night, they say they're going "out" or they're going "out out" which I think means a more formal, dressy occasion. Not sure.)

I live in the American South, and people down here, when they are talking about the possibility of things, say "might could" or "might should". I guess it's supposed to be less certain than just could or should? Especially with should... "You might should go to that sale with me on Saturday" is considerably weaker than "You should go to the doctor about that gushing artery". :)

We have a lot of words for "nothing" in Hebrew: shoom d'var, shoom kloom, kloom, etc. They all mean something slightly different--at least we use them differently in our family and I know the difference if someone says "zeh shoom d'var" or "zeh shoom kloom."

My 3yo recently started to express how much she likes something with "very". As in "Mom, I very like you". So not so much an idiom of the dialect, but a word jumble that I love.

I moved to Maine (most northeastern state in the US) 10 years ago, which was the first time I heard the expression "out straight," meaning that you've been super busy. As in, "Sorry, no time for that right now, I'm out straight!" Had no idea what they were saying at first, but now I use it myself...

If your kids watch enough TV to have a sense of "the amount of time that it takes to watch one of your shows," that can be a handy unit of time. Not very useful for talking about something that's 8 or 10 hours off, but for 1 to 3 hours, it can help the kid understand how much time you're talking about.

I live in Alaska & we refer to the other states as "the Lower 48". This includes all the states except Alaska & Hawaii (as it's separate like Alaska, too).

My parents live in Minnesota (a Lower 48 state) & they always say, "Ya, we're going up North". This means that they are traveling to Northern Minnesota where they have a summer lake home. Everyone there knows that it means they're going to the lake for the weekend.


Wow, that would confuse the heck outa me too, lol! My 3.5 yo is also trying to figure all that stuff out. He'll say at bedtime: "I want to ride my bike". I'll say "OK, tomorrow" and he'll get very indignant. "NO! not tomorrow, I want to do it when I wake up!" Um, ok. If you say so.

I'm from the southern United States. I see that a couple of other commenters are as well & I'm surprised no one has yet addressed "ya'll." Ya'll is short, or slang, for "you all." Very obviously a plural word. Yet we also have the phrase "all of ya'll" which is somehow more plural. If I were to invite my daughter, her husband and their child for dinner, I would say "ya'll come to dinner." But if the invitation were extended to her in-laws, I would have to say "all of ya'll."

In the south, we have really butchered the English language - this is only one example!

If he knows his numbers, Tertia, you can teach Adam to watch the clock. I took a digital clock and put a sticky note over the minutes digits and now my 4-year-old understands that 6 means she can get out of bed, 7 means she can get ME out of bed, 1 means it's naptime, 3 means it's OK to get up from nap, 5 means Daddy will be home soon, etc.

One of my favorite kid-language things came from a little girl I was a nanny for a billion years ago. She had just started using "too". So you'd say, "we're going to the park soon" and she'd ask, "too soon?" Or you'd say "Mommy loves you very much" and she'd say "too much?" I just found it endearing.

In Afrikaans it almost makes more sense to me, "nou nou" but I love it when English people in SA say now now, doesn't make any sense but still means exactly the same as "nou nou" and "net nou" just now... And Now I am getting confused....

Yes, Lisa! I forgot y'all. And, "usetocould" as in "I use to could fit into a size 6!" LOL

At last, an explanation of now now and just now that actually makes sense. I have to admit to using both these phrases waaay too much myself, but luckily the my friends and colleagues here have learned to "decode" me over the years.

Another very Safa expression is leaving out the "me" or "us" - as in "do you want to come with?".....I guess it makes sense when you translate the Afr "saam kom"...

And let's not even try to explain the whole "Ja Nee" thing lol

Today I got asked to explain "You Biscuit" - I was lost for words.......

In the most northern regions of Michigan, the phrase "Holy Wah" can be heard. It's akin to "Holy Cow!" or "What the fuck!?" and can be used in fear, admiration, confusion, anger...and so many more instances.

Here in Texas (USA) we have "ya'll" (you all), "all ya'll" (all of you) "fixin to" (about to) and "a whole nother" (as in, well, that's a whole nother issue altogether). Also, a "Coke" could mean any type of carbonated beverage, not just a Coca-Cola. One must specify which type of Coke one has in mind.

In Pennsylvania, where my husband is from, the equivalent of ya'll is "yinz guys." As in, yinz guys want to go get a beer?

We have "yous" here in New Zealand it used instead of you, but plural as in "would yous guys like to come over" instead of would you like to come over. We also use coke as a generic name for all fizzy drink. We use out and out out as well, as in i'm going out tonight, meaning over to a friends place, or i'm going out out meaning somewhere nice that i wouldn't usually go. We also say "shall i come over to yours"? Which i don't particularly like.

Love me some y'all, fixing to, aiming to, might could...

In the States just now means now now. It's lead to some communication issues in the past. LOL.

No real colloquialisms...just Evanisms (cute things my son says). He says 'vamilla' instead of vanilla ('I want a vamilla frosty') and still doesn't pronounce his r's right.

Yes, we are childish and are constantly asking him to say 'the red rooster crosses the road'. I think we have seen the Life of Brian too many times ('we-wease Bwian!!').

This isn't a dialect thing, but a kid-peculiarity: when my son was two or three, he would indicate "I want" by prefacing the desired thing with "more," even if he hadn't had any previously. "More cracker," "More shirt," you get the idea.

Unfortunately, when he wanted the light on, it wasn't "more light," instead it was "more on." I told him if he wanted stuff from me he'd have to stop calling me names...poor little language-delayed tyke didn't get it.

My daughter used to say "yesternight". It completely made sense to me.

We tend to do the letter-mix-around here in Australia. I am not sure if that originated in UK or what? But then we also shorten everything because we're so lazy. Or randomly add "o" to the end of already shortened words.

So, first up: "No f@#king worries" becomes "No wucking furries" in the general mixaround. And then because we are lazy, it then gets shortened to "No wuckas"

There's no bottle shops, there's the "bottlo"... a suburb that's technically called Erskineville is referred to as "Erko".

And then you have a German exchange student come to stay and you suddenly realise how incomprehensible you are once they start going "Huh?"

I direct you to this funny:


and here if you are not familiar with the movie:


On of the effects of my daughter's learning disabilities is that she's sketchy on time. At 16, she still gets confused by time. When she was little, about Adam's age, I started stringing fruit loops on an elastic string to show her how time passed. Blue loops were the hour, and the three in between were pink or yellow, depending on whether it was AM or PM. Then, every 15 minutes she could take off a froot loop and see how time passed. It really really helped when I would put markers (like knitting stitch markers)at the times when events would occur. So if Daddy got home at 6 PM, there would be a stitch marker there and she could visually SEE how many minutes and hours there would be before 6 pm.

Sheeesh. I almost lost a job when I first got to the States and promised to do something, "Just Now." You can imagine the fury when it wasn't completed an hour later.... "But you said...."

Australian jargon is an absolute nightmare for most other people. I remeber listening to an Australian guy at work say to a Philippino woman "Yeah mate, you're right, whack 'em away". which meant Thank you, I'm finished, you can put them away now." So funny. she had no idea what he meant, and he had no idea why she wasn't doing as he asked.

I can't think of any time-related quirks, but here's a general one. My husband, who is a mid-westerner now living in Florida often leaves the verb "to be" out of his sentences. For example: The dog needs washed, the baby needs fed, my hair needs cut. It drives me insane.

Adam's "this night" reminded me that my son (now 5.5yo) corrects me when I say "yesterday" and it actually happened last night, he says "No mommy, not yesterday, yesternight"! Funny how accurate they want to be.

And when playing Lego or something similar that requires putting things together, he also says (this is for South Africans) "Mommy please help me put this into-mekaar"! (His dad is Afr and we're raising him to be bilingual.)

I'm a Canadian living in the US and I always get picked on when I tell someone I'm going to give them a "shout" as in I will give you a call later. The one I dislike the most though that I have even been caught doing is when you say thank you to someone here and instead of them saying "your welcome" they say "uh huh" and my Canadian roots just say Bad Manners when I hear it, even from myself!

Well, in American English now pretty much means now. And right now means even sooner. However, in Spanish, you have ahora=relatively now, like your now. Ahorita is a sooner now, but depending on where you are from , it could be 5 minutes, or 2 hours. Like your now now, they have ahorita ahorita, which literally means right now right now.

As a teacher, I do something similar. If one of my students tell me they've finished their work, I'll ask "all of it?" and if they say yes, I ask "all of it all of it?" Then usually the answer is a shy no and they go back to their seat to finish all of it all of it.

I love these language discussions! I'm such a nerd, sorry!

just to let the southern amercians now they're not the only people who use y'all......we moved to durban from cape town and most of the indian people here use y'all, i kid you not.


In Chile the "right now" expression is "al tiro" (lit: "in a shot"). This can mean anything from this exact second to a couple of hours, depending on the context. I went to the bike shop and was told I could have my wheel back "al tiro." Meanwhile I read my book and talked to the other customers. Total time elapsed: about 45 minutes.

"Ahora ya" is another "right now expression" which seems a little more hurried than "al tiro." It means literally "now already." We don't have a real mañana syndrome here, but things can move a bit slower than I'm expecting at times, that's for sure! (from the states, and New York, which is probably the most hurried part!)

I seem to have picked up coloqualisms from all over the bladdy planet, having moved around so much! I also seem to pick speech patterns up really fast which can mean people think I am taking the mick, when I don't even realise I am copying them. Some of the ones is frequent use in our family:

'your man' - whatever person you are referring to, not necessarily anyone to do with you personally (eg - "when is your man going to fix the washing machine?") - it's an irish thing I picked up from goodness knows, and as my husband works for an irish company, i seem to have used it more and more.

"saket" - this is used when we have a funny tummy/diaorrhea, as in "i have saket poo" - this is an indonesian thing (i lived there as a child).

"ikimasho"- let's go - this is japanese (i was born there).

"but" - tagged onto the end of a sentence. some northern territory/queensland australian thing. i don't use this so much now.

"you guys" - I guess this is american, I used to nanny an american family and as soon as I speak to someone with a whiff of an american accent, this one gets pulled out.

"Utitily room" - Utility room. This one is from when my sister was little and mixed her letters up. Also; hecilopter, ossifer (officer), etc.

"Rara ticktock" - Rabbit Clock - the one that I use to tell my son it's waking up time (or not!), has been rechristened by him. He's now 3 but I don't have the heart to correct him on this phrase as it's too cute, and we use it ourselves as it always makes us smile.

"In a minute" - can mean anything up to an hour, this one drives my husband wild as I use it all the time and he never knows how long I mean. Very useful :D

"half hour ago" - this one is my son's, everything happens either 6 hours or "half hour ago". this one is too cute. Also everything is "six mils" - "i have six mils of milk" - methinks he has been listening to us discussing Calpol doses too often!!

I also use 'now now' and 'out out' from my mother, I wondered where she had got them from. She also uses a lot of indonesian and japanese phrases in our everyday conversation but I can't remember them offhand - as they're just so much a part of our speech, I hardly notice them any more.

when i first got back to south africa, people kept asking me if i was "hundreds" - and all they'd get was a blank stare. it seems that in the time i was away, "i'm hundreds"
started to mean, i'm alright, i get it, i understand, i'm ok. you know, as in a "hundred percent" of something.

I am from the Caribbean and in some territories we repeat for emphasis, so "now now" means right now, as in "Hurry up! The meeting is starting now now!" Similarly "quick quick." (Just now would mean soon)
I had a friend tell me how she caught a mosquito in her newborn's crib and "killed it dead dead" (the insect, not the newborn). That emphasis was an emotional one, reflecting the fury with which she killed it - and the fact that she made darn sure it was dead.
Change the tone and the emotion reflected changes: "girl, you heard about Louise? A car hit her yesterday and killed her dead, dead."
You also see some repititions that are funny when you think of them, like killing someone dead or telling someone to "back back" the car, i.e. reverse. In Jamaica, I have heard people say "reverse back" which always makes me smile when I think "could you reverse it forward?"
There are many more peculiarities in the Caribbean but this is getting long, so I'll stop there.

Haha, oh memories of my high school best girlfriend- between calling the traffic lights robots and getting the hang of 'just now' in a Canadian country as a transplanted girl from PE, SA- thanks for the entry because of the smile it made me have!

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