This week my son was helping me with the laundry. When I was cleaning out the lint trap, he said, "That's not really lint." I said, "It's not? This is the lint trap. What is it?' He looked up at me and said, "Lint is about Easter and Jesus." I, of course, had to tell him he was right and talk about lint vs. lent.
That just reminded me how difficult our English language can be--to everyone, but especially to children, non-English speaking natives, and those with a TBI (traumatic brain injury). I remember taking everything literally and not understanding nuances or homonyms. When I was in the hospital and heard people say "they had to take the baby," meaning an emergency Cesarean, I thought they literally stole my baby. Teasing was not possible at the beginning and I would get my feelings hurt and feel emotionally abused and made fun of when people tried to tease. It's taken a lot of years, but I'm mostly past that. I have at least learned to watch for nonverbal cues to help me decipher the meaning behind the words. If I ever misunderstand what you are trying to tell me, please be kind and remember I still tend to take things literally. Help me understand the meaning behind your words.
What homonyms have confused you? What expressions have you taken literally? Check out http://www.cooper.com/alan/homonym_list.html for a fun list of homonyms.