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2/10/09 "Win Layla!"

One of my young cousins has the not-uncommon name of "Layla", from the Arabic word for night, "layl". This adorable toddler has ringlet curls, deep dimples, and a small spoken vocabulary. She loves saying her own name, though, especially in the context of saying, "Mine!"

Actually, she says, "Layla's", which in Tamazight is win Layla. This is a transcultural phenomenon; I can't even count the number of babies, in various countries, I've heard pronouncing ownership. I'm sure that child psychologists have a name for the phase.

It has become a favorite game of all of the adults in her life to point to various things - clothes, body parts, etc - and ask variations on the theme of, "Whose is this? Is this mine? Is it Layla's?" The munchkin always responds, loudly and indignantly, that it's "Win Layla!"

Layla's family lives next door, so I regularly hear her little baby voice, which for some evolutionary reason carries like no adult voice can, calling through the window. I often hear indistinct shrieks and nonsense syllables, but at least once every day I get to hear a tiny but fearsome, "Win Layla!"

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