Poor spoken English - how to tackle the issue with the school

(46 Posts)
Eachpeachpearwherestheplum Thu 13-Jun-13 21:19:35

DS started the reception year in September and we quickly picked up that the TA and many other TA/admin staff etc spoke, how can I say without sounding like a snob?! Ummm lots of dropping the T's and odd sentence construction?! I wasn't that worried as the teachers are well spoken but I have heard so many times the staff not correcting the children.

This morning as an example, a child said "Mrs x, x is being 'n or t y' and she didn't say anything, the TA shouted over to my son this afternoon "x you forgot your 'wor a bot al'

My issue is that dispite always correcting DS he is starting to copy everything and I really do not like it. He is annoyed at me too. He also corrected a TA today which must have gone down well!

Would you just except it? The school is good, in a very mixed area.

Pyrrah Wed 19-Jun-13 16:40:15

Ooops! Love auto correct... blush

GoSuckEggs Tue 18-Jun-13 19:44:59

if it is any help to you.... i grew up on a rough council estate, everyone speaks how you described above. 'aints' and 'innits' everywhere. My dad was obsessive about speaking properly, always correcting me. Now everyone comments on how 'posh' i speak! i am not speaking 'posh' at all - just properly!

So keep on correcting your DC and i am sure they will be fine!

Elibean Tue 18-Jun-13 19:36:06

I have two dds in a SW London primary. IME, Reception age children start trying on different accents, ways of talking, mannerisms.....it peaks in Y1 (my dd2 currently speaks perfect 'posh foreigner' like her BF, immaculate Sarf London like her best male friend, and RP like her parents - but with a slight lisp - at home).

dd1 is now in Y4 and has pretty much stopped copying anyone, settling down to RP with occasional South Londonisms.

I don't worry. I do correct pronounciations that are likely to mess with dd2's spelling ability eg 'f' instead of 'th'

And I remember clearly how well I spoke 'Canadian' English within a week of starting school in Montreal aged 8. It lasted the time we lived there (four months) then disappeared. smile

JohnnyUtah Tue 18-Jun-13 16:44:33

I don't think you meant gentile, Pyrrah! Maybe genteel grin

Pyrrah Tue 18-Jun-13 10:25:49

I fully admit that my hatred of the words 'toilet' and 'pardon' are due to my upbringing. Historically I believe the issue is to do with the substituting of plain English terms with French terms in an attempt to appear gentile.

Not sure what the MN rules are, but I use 'loo' and 'sorry' or 'what', or even 'I beg your pardon' instead of 'pardon'.

My grandmother used to shudder over her grandchildren saying 'mirror' instead of 'looking glass'. shock

Not all public conveniences are called 'public toilets'. I used to sit on a planning committee where we dealt with a lot of them and there were a range of names used. If you go into museums or restaurants there are also a wide variety - bathroom, ladies/gents, restrooms, lavatories and so on.

cory Tue 18-Jun-13 09:23:57

In many parts of Europe, it is the norm for people to speak different dialects on different occasions: e.g. standard Italian at work and the local Italian dialect at home.

cory Tue 18-Jun-13 09:22:43

Breatheslowly, there is no reason why your dd can't be bi-dialectal and speak both standard English and the local dialect. A positive attitude towards languages in general and a habit of discussing language and speech in a non-judgmental way is very helpful ime. Gives them less to rebel about.

JohnnyUtah Mon 17-Jun-13 19:13:24

I wouldn't worry OP, ime kids always sound pretty much like their parents, not their school friends. Unless they are actually at school, which is fair enough really.

I appreciate the idea that regional accents should be respected. Does this also count for the variations in the home counties though? Or is it acceptable to consider RP to be the regional accent - which a good proportion of the local population have, but often they aren't locally born and bred?

Our local accent (of a significant proportion of people who have grown up locally) sounds a bit Eastenders/estuary, lots of dropped letters and phrases that sound grammatically wrong to me.

Obviously it is up to people how they speak, but is it reasonable to hope that my DD doesn't speak like that and also to ensure that she writes standard English?

I correct my children at home...being half Irish and having been born in Leeds I decided some time ago that RP was probably the way to go (mid teens I think).

DS2 in particular seems to think Sarf London is where he wants to be. I don't get too stressed about it.

Bunbaker Mon 17-Jun-13 16:46:12

"I currently put more effort into getting rid of the use of 'toilet' and 'pardon' at the moment."

I don't get why those two words are considered non u. I had, I suppose, a fairly upper middle class upbringing and those words were in common use and not considered unmentionable. I was taught that to say "what" instead of "pardon" was rude.
If the word toilet is so bad why are public toilets called toilets and not something else?

ZolaBuddleia Mon 17-Jun-13 16:43:44

I can never retain the MN rules for 'toilet' and 'pardon', what are we supposed to say again? grin

Pyrrah Mon 17-Jun-13 16:14:18

DD has picked up the local accent and it's truly awful. I did have a quiet word with her teacher about feeling free to correct DD's impression that the letter 't' is supposed to be silent.

The teacher (who had a very strong Scots accent) agreed with me and does pull DD (and the other children )up on it - not that it does much good.

I think most children eventually become good at using more than one accent - as long as she speaks fluent RP eventually then I will be happy. I currently put more effort into getting rid of the use of 'toilet' and 'pardon' at the moment.

soapboxqueen Sun 16-Jun-13 10:07:12

As other pp have said there are regional variations in both pronunciation and grammar. It is not wrong just different. The English language has always been and probably always be, an ever evolving language.

I'm a Geordie and it really annoys me that people think that whole regions of our country are speaking their own language incorrectly. It's pure snobbery. You can't be an intelligent and worthwhile person if you use the language of the area you were born in.

I don't think it is a bad thing for children to recognize the difference between their home dialect and standard English. Yes people do make judgements on how we speak but it is just another prejudice that should not be encouraged or accepted.

I'm a northerner, teaching further south. I say flat /a/ sounds, while my pupils' parents all say longer /ar/ sounds. Would you complain about me too if your DC said "path" rather than "parth" sometimes?

Farewelltoarms Sat 15-Jun-13 16:09:06

I'm not saying TAs all use bad grammar - I'm saying that the ones in my kids' school do. They are on the whole older local women who are bloody brilliant at their jobs. But highly educated with rp they are not...

Vietnammark Sat 15-Jun-13 12:15:08

Unfortunately my 5.5 year old son goes to an American curriculum school and he has an American teacher. She is a good teacher, but can't use the present perfect to save her life. My son doesn't seem to be picking up the pp and I am getting worried. Is it normal for a bright 5.5 year old in the UK to not be using the pp yet?

thornrose Fri 14-Jun-13 21:26:45

This attitude towards TAs is infuriating! I'm genuinely shocked. I may be paid peanuts but that doesn't mean I'm poorly educated and use incorrect grammar.

Why do you think TAs are more likely to use the dreaded "we was, you was?" no TA in my school ever says that. confused

TAs come from all walks of life, 2 at my school are actually qualified teachers, 2 are studying to become teachers. One is an ex nurse, one is an ex radiographer. They are all dedicated professionals! Why do people have such a low opinion of them?

cory Fri 14-Jun-13 17:02:04

And for the record, some dialects do also have grammatical deviations from standard English, not just phonetical. In some English dialects "were" is used to denote the past regardless of person (I were, you were), in other dialects "was" fills the same function. "Thou" and "thee" survived (and possibly still survive) in some northern dialects after they were replaced by "you" in standard English. Would you say "tha" for "you" is grammatically incorrect? And if so, when did it become grammatically incorrect?

What we regard as correct grammar today is simply one dialectal form that has become dominant.

cory Fri 14-Jun-13 17:01:12

What is wrong with your ds growing up bi-dialectal? Or do you suspect he might not have the intellectual capacity? wink

Ime most people who need to do so are perfectly capable of switching between different accents if they have been brought up with the linguistic awareness and flexibility to do so.

valiumredhead Fri 14-Jun-13 15:12:10

There are at least two errors in your OP so I'd keep very quietwink

JanePlanet Fri 14-Jun-13 15:08:42

Agree that there is a huge difference between regional accent and grammar. However, I have experienced prejudice because of my accent. In the sector I work in my accent can be a bit of an affliction. My partner on the other hand - in his sector his accent is a bonus. Depends how many closed minded prejudiced snobs you work with I guess.

Bunbaker Fri 14-Jun-13 15:04:37

The only thing I corrected my daughter on was pronouncing the letter H. Her year 3 teacher used to say haitch. We used to keep telling her it was aitch!

Neither OH nor I are from South Yorkshire, but I don't want DD to sound different from everyone else as it just gives other kids a reason to pick on her.

I wasn't bullied at school, but I was teased mercilessly for having a "posh" accent.

If that's the local accent then your DS is more likely to pick it up from the other children than the TAs. Our local accent can sound horrible (to me), but there is a massive range in how the children speak in the area, so I think there is a strong influence from home too.

diabolo Fri 14-Jun-13 13:50:28

It's coz us skool admin staff are well, like, common innit?

shock

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