I happened across this old article about Mister Rogers, and his attention to detail when it came to language. While I experienced growing up with this man and his show, I never knew the degree to which Rogers and his writers toiled over the language.
I never thought about how young children take things quite literally. And in hindsight, the care taken with phrasing and word choice makes a great deal of sense. Having grown up speaking more than one language, having developed an interest in literature and writing – word choices greatly influence how others interpret what we mean.
The term “Freddish” was something coined by writers Arthur Greenwald and Barry Head, and is an interesting example/distillation of how to convey an idea on the show. As an adult writing this now, I look back on this show with even more admiration, that there were these adults who took such time and care with their words. It’s a reminder to me how powerful language is, in both shaping the world and especially in shaping the world for others.
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