Is it fine to use the word Rooster in the alphabet book?

< Previous | Next >

cherry-mickie

Member
Russian
We're putting together a list of pictures for an alphabet book for kids up to 3 years old.
Is it fine to use "Rooster" for R? Is the word common enough in the US, so that toddlers can understand?

Thanks in advance!
 
Last edited:
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Is it fine to use "Rooster" for R? Is the word common enough in the US, so that toddlers can understand?
    I think it is, cherry-mickie, but it's hard to predict exactly what farm and animal words all toddlers will know. Many kids are raised in big cities that are far away from farms and rural life. If those kids have teachers and parents who tell them about farm animals, they should know what a rooster is. :)
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I think it is, cherry-mickie, but it's hard to predict exactly what farm and animal words all toddlers will know. Many kids are raised in big cities that are far away from farms and rural life. If those kids have teachers and parents who tell them about farm animals, they should know what a rooster is. :)
    I heard an article on the radio this week about how the Oxford Junior Dictionary in the UK is dropping lots of farm/ nature vocabulary such as heron, oak, etc in favour of words reflecting new technologies and modern life. They choose their entries based on USE in certain corpora and the rural words are not used so much.

    You have a choice to go either way on this issue, I suppose.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    We're putting together a list of pictures for an alphabet book for a toddler.
    Is it fine to use "Rooster" for R? Is the word common enough in the US, so that toddlers can understand?
    You haven't given us an age range. There's every chance that someone will look at your Rooster and wonder why it isn't under C. You're probably pushing a toddler's knowledge of chickens to know that there are Hens and Roosters.

    Maybe a Rat. :)
     

    cherry-mickie

    Member
    Russian
    You haven't given us an age range. There's every chance that someone will look at your Rooster and wonder why it isn't under C. You're probably pushing a toddler's knowledge of chickens to know that there are Hens and Roosters.

    Maybe a Rat. :)
    Thanks for your reply! These are babies and kids under 3 years old. That's our concern - that they may be confused and distracted by the words 'chicken' or 'cock'.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Thanks for your reply! These are babies and kids under 3 years old. That's our concern - that they may be confused and distracted by the words 'chicken' or 'cock'.
    I think Chicken would be fine, but I'm not three. Still, they're going to have to learn what McNuggets are made of sometime.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Is this book for American toddlers? I think rooster is possible if so. (Elsewhere, cockerel or cock might be preferred.) If you using drawings, birds in crowing posture with exaggeratedly colourful and fulsome tail feathers, wattles and cockscombs might underline the point.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    A raccoon is probably just as familiar as a rooster in the US (neither is likely in the UK).
    Other words that spring to mind are rabbit, rat and rattlesnake (too long?).

    But I would go for Rat, like Copyright, since it is the kind of word used when teaching reading. Rats are also appealing creatures (when kept as pets, that is).
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    Rooster would be fine for the US, as would the other suggestions of R-animals above.
    Elsewhere, cockerel or cock might be preferred.
    Elsewhere indeed. If my daughter had come home from preschool and told me the teacher had shown her a picture of a cock, I would have burned the school down. :D
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I think most US children know roosters. Their parents couldn't do very entertaining "cock-a-doodle-doo" performances if they didn't. It's the most fun of all the barnyard noises.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I think Chicken would be fine, but I'm not three. Still, they're going to have to learn what McNuggets are made of sometime.
    :D:D:D
    If my daughter had come home from preschool and told me the teacher had shown her a picture of a cock, I would have burned the school down. :D
    :D:D:D

    Personally I'd go for rabbit. Rats are easily mistaken for mice (well, they are when I draw them); and doesn't every 3-year old aspire to having a bunny of its own?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I think there would be no problem with using "rooster" within a story for BE children. It could be explained if necessary.
    I don't think it would be wise to use "Rooster" as a typical word-beginning-with-R. For alphabet books, it is best if the child is already familiar with what's in the picture rather than having to learn a new word AND associate it with the sound.

    Having said that, my grandchildren have survived U for umbrella bird, Y for yak, and X for X-ray fish and it appears not to have done them any lasting harm.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I guess I'm not yet old enough to be taught what an umbrella bird is:(
    You probably don't recognize it as two words. :)

    Wikipedia: Umbrellabird: The umbrellabirds are birds in the genus Cephalopterus found in rainforests of Central and South America. With a total length of 35–50 cm (14–20 in), they are among the largest members of the cotinga family, and the male Amazonian umbrellabird is the largest passerine in South America. Sometimes Umbrellabirds Are Known As A Black Heron or Black Egret.

    They are almost entirely black, and have a conspicuous crest on the top of their head, vaguely resembling an umbrella (hence their common name). All have an inflatable wattle on the neck, which serves to amplify their loud, booming calls.


    I'm sure you'll recognize him from his photo – and you might even remember the hairdo, although maybe not on him.
     

    Silver_Biscuit

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    I recently bought a children's 'my first' style animal picture book and it is jam-packed with animals (and especially birds) that I couldn't have identified myself, and I think my bird identification skills are slightly above average - e.g. obscure African species of owl instead of just 'owl'. If my kid actually manages to learn these, I'll be quite impressed! Maybe there is a drive these days to improve young children's zoology skills. 'Birdie' isn't going to cut it anymore, they have to know their waxwings from their bullfinches. After all, David Attenborough won't be around forever.

    Rooster shouldn't be a problem, although I agree that very little children might want to say chicken (or even birdie, if they have particularly negligent parents). A 3-year-old shouldn't be fazed by it, though. I agree that it's probably not the optimal choice. Rabbit seems the safest bet to me (although some children would maybe call them bunnies, in the UK at least). I think distinguishing between a rat and a mouse would be harder for a toddler than between a chicken and a rooster, though.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    [...] Wikipedia: Umbrellabird: The umbrellabirds are birds in the genus Cephalopterus found in rainforests of Central and South America. With a total length of 35–50 cm (14–20 in), they are among the largest members of the cotinga family, and the male Amazonian umbrellabird is the largest passerine in South America. [...]
    That'd be fun if a three-year-old asked what an umbrella bird (umbrellabird) was: "Well, Johnny, it's a passerine of the genus Cephalopterus.":D

    I wouldn't go for Rooster, given the various other words that kids might associate with domestic fowl. (And most of the ones in McNuggets are female anyway, Cop.:p)

    Rabbit gets my vote.

    Ws:)
     

    Silver_Biscuit

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Just the same problem as using rattlesnake, raccoon or gopher - it's meaningless in Britain.

    The British word for that bird is cock, and has been since the middle ages; a young one is a cockerel.
    Haha, it's not meaningless, it's just not the usual word. British people are generally quite capable of understanding that one thing may have more than one name. Even small children (cf. bunny and rabbit). How many people in the UK do you think are unaware of what a rooster is? Not many in the adult population at least.

    As for the other animals, these are the words used in Britain (apart from maybe some might call a gopher a ground squirrel, I suppose). We just don't have those animals running around the countryside. Honestly, we teach children what kangaroos, lions and bears are and they're not going to see those outside a zoo either.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    [...] - it's meaningless in Britain.

    The British word for that bird is cock, and has been since the middle ages [...]
    But I bet you use quite a few words that weren't around in the Middle Ages, Keith — and yet we don't deem them meaningless.;)
    Haha, it's not meaningless, it's just not the usual word. [...] How many people in the UK do you think are unaware of what a rooster is? Not many in the adult population at least. [...]
    I agree with Silver_Biscuit's comments. "Rooster" has been a familiar enough word in the UK for half a century or more. Even for people who may not have heard it before 1964, many would then have heard the Rolling Stones' recording of Willie Dixon's Little Red Rooster, which was No.1 in the UK charts.

    There are plenty of UK commercial entities with "rooster" in their names. Next time you're in Brum, Keith, you could try eating at Rooster House on the Bristol Road. There's Rooster Records in Exeter, Rooster Yarns in Cheshire, Roaming Roosters (meat suppliers) in Lancashire, Roosters 'free range beers from Yorkshire' — all with pictures of cocks in their logos. And if you search for "rooster" in any of the major UK online shopping sites, you'll find loads of products labelled "rooster ..." (for example decorated tableware from Co.Durham artist Alex Clark).

    If the word "rooster" were meaningless in Britain, I doubt that so many businesses would have adopted it!

    [Edit]: Oh, and then there was the British rock band, Rooster.

    Ws:)
     
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    The question isn't about record shops or rock bands, the question is "what is the appropriate word to offer a three-year-old to mean 'a male hen'?" The answer for an American child is rooster; for a British child, cock. I have to say that I'd be as unhappy to see "R is for rooster" in a book published in the UK as I would "A is for automobile, B is for baseball, C is for chipmunk..." Three-year-olds should not be a target for the US colonisation of the English language.
     

    Silver_Biscuit

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Gosh, how dramatic! I think you're moving the goalposts a bit there, considering you did use the word 'meaningless'. That's plain hyperbole (as, some might say, is 'US colonisation of the English language').

    I wasn't aware that there was another word in the English language to refer to a baseball, or indeed a chipmunk. But I suppose it's best to generally keep children away from all things that come from other countries. Just wondering, would you be equally unhappy to see 'Z is for zebra' or 'T is for tiger'? Must we have 'Z is for zip' and 'T is for teapot' to keep our British children pure? Or is it just things from America that you want to shield children from?

    P.S. I learnt cockerel as a child, I still say cockerel and I'll be teaching that word to my children. I don't care if it is less accurate from an animal husbandry perspective. Call me immature but I think 'cock' for a male chicken has gone the same way as the name Dick. I remember a bit in a Just William story where William goes to the fair and rides a big red cock on the merry-go-round, and nobody will persuade me that that's not hilarious. Nevertheless, I am still able to understand the words cock and rooster used to describe the same animal.

    P.P.S. As far as I'm aware, most Americans use the word 'car' in their daily language rather than automobile, and I'm guessing 'C for car' is infinitely more likely to appear in a children's book published over there. Since 'car' first became widespread in the UK, does that mean that the UK is also colonising the English language?
     
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Silver Biscuit, we both know that language defines culture. So yes, I do think it's dramatic to see the way in which one culture overwhelms another. As adults you and I can cope with it; I don't think three-year-olds should be expected to.

    And in the same way, I'd expect an American to be taken aback by a book offered to his child which read "A is for ass (picture of donkey); B is for bat (picture of a cricket bat); C is for cock..."
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I agree with your point that "rooster" is an unreasonable word to use in BE, Keith. But cherry-mickie did originally ask about the suitability of "rooster" in AE: Is it fine to use "Rooster" for R? Is the word common enough in the US, so that toddlers can understand?

    A is for ass (picture of donkey)
    This probably would incense a few earnest parents over here. :)
     
    Last edited:

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    the question is "what is the appropriate word to offer a three-year-old to mean 'a male hen'?"
    Actually, the original question in this thread was "Do US children know the US name for a male hen?"
    When your child watches Peter Pan crowing, do you say he's making the sound produced by a male hen or do you pretend he's having some sort of fit? ;)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top