Elocution lessons for our American daughter?

(260 Posts)
VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 03:49:19

Our five year old daughter will soon start school in the UK. She was born in US, has only lived in the US, and has so far been educated in the US. As a result, she speaks with an American accent.

My concern is that there are a few sounds that she still needs to work on, and moving to a different country with different speech patterns may complicate things for her. For example, she cannot pronounce the "r", as in "star" or "very." Could elocution lessons in the UK help her pronounce words the American way? That is, can a British speech therapist help her learn to say the American "star" or will she be taught the British version (which sounds a lot like "stah" to our uncivilized American ears)?

In addition, she's only recently mastered the "th" sound (before, she was approximated "th" with a "d" so that "them" was pronounced "dem"). However, I hear a lot of folks around town (and more often in London) pronouncing "th" with an "f" or "v" rather than the American "th". We spent a fair amount of time helping her with her "th" sounds; I would hate to see all that work amount to naught if she's in a class with students who use "v" or "f" instead.

So, will elocution lessons help her?

Along those same lines, does anyone have a recommendation for a speech therapist or elocution coach near Guildford?

TanteRose Mon 19-Nov-12 04:10:03

Bloody hell, are you serious? confused

Just leave her to it - she will start to mimic those around her in no time, and have a local accent within a few months.

Elocution lessons will surely just give a her huge complex

stickybean Mon 19-Nov-12 04:16:04

I have the opposite. We are Brits in the states. My daughter is the same age as yours. She is picking up an American accent at school and has no trouble understanding or being understood. Relax about it. It'll happen naturally smile

SofiaAmes Mon 19-Nov-12 04:25:53

I'm hoping this is a joke, but if not....your dd will lose her american accent within a year. I moved my dc's from the Uk to the us when ds was just turning 5 and dd was just turning 3. They both lost their british accents within a year. Dh is english and I am American, so they had both around the house. Kids pick up the accent of their peers.

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 04:31:27

No, not a joke, I'm afraid.

I don't mind my daughter acquiring a British accent---it's inevitable and I accept that---but I do object to her learning to say some sounds improperly. For example, I want her to continue to pronounce the "tt" sound in the word "letter" (as she does already), regardless if she pronounces the final "r" the American way or the British way. And I want her to maintain the correct "th" sound rather than switching it with a "v" or an "f".

FairPhyllis Mon 19-Nov-12 05:11:16

I really don't think it's appropriate to try to use a speech therapist to stop a child picking up an accent. Accents are not speech disorders. And if you're concerned about her not being able to physically articulate certain sounds, then I think getting a therapist to teach her sounds she doesn't hear in her peers - like 'r' in 'star' - would be terribly confusing and just pointless, I think, as what her peer group does will override everything else. I think you have to accept that features like non-rhoticity are part and parcel of most accents of British English. In fact if you did make her pronounce 'r' - which I doubt you could in practice - then you could actually be teaching her a stigmatised feature.

So basically what accent your child will pick up will to a large extent depend on the accent of her peers - which will be determined by things like where you are living, what features of Estuary (which I assume is what you have a problem with) have spread to your area, and the socioeconomic class of her peer group. But basically, I think you're being unreasonable. You're moving to the south of England. The accent for much of the south of England, including even naice middle class professionals, is a form of Estuary.

mathanxiety Mon 19-Nov-12 05:26:47

She will pick up the speech she hears most. It behoves you to live in an area whose accent you like if you are worried. She will also be influenced by your speech. If you want Rs then move to Ireland. Rs are looked down upon in most of the UK.

My DCs have American accents but they do not have the fairly strong regional accent from the area they were brought up in and they have elements of Irish speech that others can detect. Their American accent is hard to place and a bit different from their peers' accent but it is definitely American. I am Irish and exH is American.

Please don't send her to elocution lessons. She has to bloom where she is planted. That means getting on with life with the children she will have as peers. Elocution lessons are likely to give her hangups. A more hoity toity accent than her peers in the UK will single her out for teasing or even ostracisation. Also, please don't correct her speech if she starts developing the local accent.

(You are going to find yourself developing an English accent too btw)

glenellyn Mon 19-Nov-12 05:28:33

I have to agree that a speech therapist is not the right person to deal with these issues unless of course your daughter has a diagnosed speech defect. Access to speech therapy is pretty difficult in the UK too - not as easy as in the States. Your daughter will pick up on the accents of her friends and you can reinforce at home how you would like her to speak. I am British, we left the UK for Asia when DS was 3 and DD 1. We now live in the USA and one child speaks British English and the other speaks American English...... Go figure smile

sharklet Mon 19-Nov-12 05:51:29

I am the opposite too, my DD (now almost 9) moved here when 6. Born and educated in UK now in 3rd Grade in USA. Brit Mum, American Dad. She has retained her British accent, because she chose to. I have always taught her the difference between British English and American English. Almost taught them as two languages. When she speaks to an American, or in a group of American kids she uses the verbage used in the states (and often accent and pronunciation to match) and with me or her Brit friends she uses her British English colloquialisms.

I did not really want her to develop an American accent, but I cannot stop her, and honestly with kids if you are too desperate for them to speak one way they will often eventually resent and go the other way. I have found this way she is educated on the differences. I am not pressuring her and as a result so far she is still saying things the way I would secretly like her to.

Do not stress too much, FWIW British accents are very very diverse and alter dramatically depending on where you live, if you are in Guildford, honestly you have little to worry about. Most parents end up reminding thier kids not to drop thier Ts etc.

Are you staying in UK for long?

mathanxiety Mon 19-Nov-12 06:07:24

I actually think it might benefit you to ask yourself why you are so worried and so willing to try to control something that is not really controllable here, plus risk setting up a barrier between your DD and yourself.

Are you anxious about the move? It is a really huge thing to contemplate.

amarylisnightandday Mon 19-Nov-12 06:24:53

A uk elocution teacher being asked to retain a child's American accent? They would think it was a wind up. The point of elocution is to acquire Received Pronunciation (or the Queens English to lay people).
If it works the subject should end up sounding like either Joanna Lumley or maybe even Penelope Keith! (I still covet elocution)

Perhaps you should watch My Fair Lady grin

Seriously though, what you are describing are normal developmental issues. I'm fairly sure the 'th' sound is one if the last to be mastered and she's only 5. Plus this move is going to be huge for her - I sincerely hope you let her cope with that for a good few months before you start trying to adjust her sad

madwomanintheattic Mon 19-Nov-12 06:27:50

Ohhhhhhhhhh. Cos the British all use f or v instead f th, innit. What the actual frick are you on about, luv?

I do see, now... It must be terribly worrying for you to assume she might catch a glottal stop. ( I am laughing proper about an American pronouncing double 't' in letter - see where those lazy stereotypes get you?)

Fwiw, mine have vacillated wildly between glasgae, the home kineties, and southern alberta. They sound like me, Oxford born and bred. With the occasional canadianism.

In glasgae, they would role play in Scottish, and sing 'twankle twankle little star' and resort to surrey dahling when they got through the door.

In future years, she will regress to where she is now every time she gets drunk.


Aw, we haven't had a good thread slamming common accents for ages. Try primary in September when all the pfb mummies fret about the NQT who might taint their babies.

In all seriousness, you need neither an elocution tutor or a slt. If at five her only issue is the 'r' sound at the end of letter and star, you have feck all to worry about.

And to fret otherwise whilst thousands of kids are being denied much needed speech therapy is kinda insulting. Notwithstanding your previous comments about F's and v's. I think our kids with those dreadful accents are in much greater need than yours, eh?

Maybe you should stay in the US?

'Improperly'. Ha!

amarylisnightandday Mon 19-Nov-12 06:34:43

Dying to know where op is moving to. I shall be bored if its the south east but shall giggle if its Newcastle or Brum (or even the Black Country!) or, gasp, Liverpool!!!!

Where I live the most used form of causk greeting is ''ere!' And most nouns are plurals due to local tradition. 'Where you to ma boy?' 'Im up asdas doing me lotteries' he he he he

amarylisnightandday Mon 19-Nov-12 06:36:02

If the op is worried she ought to be more worried that Brits traditionally think all yanks are thick wink

sassytheFIRST Mon 19-Nov-12 06:36:04

Op - Private (pref exclusive/public) school. No glottal stop there.


madwomanintheattic Mon 19-Nov-12 06:47:06

Amaryllis, I know. I'm desperately hoping for Liverpool...

Or Aldershot. <evil>

It's a long way from furnished and burnished, I tell ya.

sassytheFIRST Mon 19-Nov-12 06:48:34

Think she said Guildford.

I thought aldershot was very naice, all subalterns and tennis in the afternoon sun.

fuzzywuzzy Mon 19-Nov-12 06:49:50

Well OP is looking for a speech therapist in Guildford, so one would assume she is moving near that vicinity..no?

I think you're safe in surrey, but your child will end up with a Brit accent, you could move back to the states later on and she will possibly return to her native accent....or or or sit your dd in front of American TV a lot and she'll retain her accent, free baby sitting and elocution lessons all in one HTH

BeckAndCall Mon 19-Nov-12 06:51:36

OPmas you're moving to Guildford, your DD will pick up the only RIGHT way to speak English.....

You and your DH might pick it up too!


happygardening Mon 19-Nov-12 08:43:52

The only point you should be considering is does your daughter have a genuine speech problems causing her to pronounce th as d? From your posting its not clear but those who repeatedly miss pronounce letters don't do it becasue they are lazy or miss hear or have even learnt to speak with a specific accent but becasue they genuinely cant get their tongues lips etc in the right place. I cant pronounce r's and was nagged and hounded by one of my MFL teachers only later when I worked with speech therapists did I understand that I physically cannot pronounce an r. This if severe enough does require specialist help, constant correcting nagging or elocution lessons will not resolve this.

Cahoots Mon 19-Nov-12 08:58:47

Unless you daughter has a proper speech problem I would not worry at all. Your daughter may or may not pick up an accent but a Guildford accent is very neutral. When you mention folks around here you are talking about some Londoners who have a bit of an East End accent. You won't find that in Guildford. There is no chance of your DD doing a Dick Van Dyke (in Mary Poppins) on you.
My DC have different accent to one another due to us moving about a lot. It doesn't bother us.
Is your DD going o the American school?

forevergreek Mon 19-Nov-12 08:59:58

I don't understand why you think she would stop using certain letters. I wouldn't pronounce 'letter' any other way than saying the tt. British people don't miss out random letters. Some areas might ( mainly up north). Personally I find Americans miss off far more. Such as herbs, in American is 'erbs'!

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 09:27:52

FairPhyllis, Estuary (the working class influenced accent of the Thames Estuary) is becoming more widespread in Southern England but it is wrong to say southern accents are a form if Estuary, particularly RP which bears no relation or similarity.

Fairylea Mon 19-Nov-12 09:32:48

I'm sorry but I feel sorry for your dd.

She's moving to a new county, new school, new friends ... with a different accent to them. It's all very stressful for a small child as it is and then you want to do speech lessons!!??

If she was my dd I'd just want her to fit in and be happy. Anything very wrong (ie I'd correct "ain't" and use of "don't" instead of "doesn't" in context) I would correct myself.

Too much pressure too little..

lljkk Mon 19-Nov-12 09:50:50

I want her to continue to pronounce the "tt" sound in the word "letter"

Oh heavens, that is one of DH's big bears, he harps all over DC if they leave out the proper T and put in a glutteral stop. "It's compuTer not compu'uh!!" he scolds. He would sympathise with you loads. It bothers him hugely. I barely notice the mangled T sound and don't care at all. We are a mixed American-English couple, too.

He's the uptight Englishman & I'm the laid back Californian.

Hamishbear Mon 19-Nov-12 10:10:38

Ah Aldershot, you'll find the father's have shiny euonymuses there too smile As well as a good RP accent no doubt.

Hamishbear Mon 19-Nov-12 10:11:26

Fathers even.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 10:52:55

lljkk, your DH is doing the right thing. In the US everyone says compuu'der, whereas here saying compu'uh marks you out as a bit of a thicko.

notcitrus Mon 19-Nov-12 11:10:48

Chill out, OP. Within weeks she'll talk like her peers at school and more like you at home. My ds is 4 and at nursery picks up a strong Sarf Lahndan accent and dialect, but after one reminder that 'peanut butter' has Ts in if he wants some, he uses more standard English at home. I figure code switching ability will be useful in later life.

Also I'm not a.speech expert,but isn't it normal for a 5yo anywhere to have difficulty with r and th sounds? I think it's only around 7 most children can do them.

RubberNeckerNicker Mon 19-Nov-12 11:24:57

There is more than a touch of Estuary in the Woking accent, and that is easy spitting distance of Guildford.

And ROFL at the thought of Aldershot being naice!

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 11:31:48

happygardening: She no longer uses the "d" sound for "th." In the US, it often happens that young children mispronounce "th" as "d".

forevergreek: The standard way to pronounce herbs in the US is " 'erbs" without a vocalized h. Since the word comes from French, and the French don't pronounce the h in herbs, either, it makes the most sense to not pronounce it at all.

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 11:35:26

Also, what does "naice" mean? I see it on mumsnet all the time, but I have no idea what it means.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 11:36:46

Vintage, outside the US you won't do yourself any favours by dropping the h in herbs. It really sounds moronic, French or not.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 11:37:49

naice is nice

BananaramaLlama Mon 19-Nov-12 11:42:42

You could move to Scotland, lovely r sounds up here. Our choir conductor was praising our lovely rolled rrrrs, which he can't manage.

Are you only in the uk for a short time? Is that why you are concerned about it? Maybe a us / international school? (I have no idea if that's possible near Guildford, just see people mentioning them on the living overseas board).

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 11:47:48

Lovely everything up there in Scotland, Banana!

LadyMargolotta Mon 19-Nov-12 11:48:15

I had elocuation lessons as a child. And speech therapy before that. The elocution did give me confidence in speaking, and helped me to speak more clearly.

I don't see why elocution would give your daughter a complex - far from it. I enjoyed it.

LadyMargolotta Mon 19-Nov-12 11:49:08

I've only ever seen 'naice' on mumsnet - referring to expensive ham. It's just a posher way of pronouncing 'nice'.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 11:49:39

You want a speech therapist if she has problems enunciating certain sounds.
I'm sure a therapist can find words in which the English enunciate 'r'

Elocution lessons nowadays are about speaking clearly and confidently in your own natural accent. Different thing entirely.

My DD has been born and raised in Lancashire, she had a nanny with a lovely rural lancs accent, all her friends and most teachers had Lancs accents... she gets mildly ribbed because despite all this her accent is southern (mostly my Essex, unfortunately, not DHs neutral).

I'd guess if your child picks up accents from British peers, she is equally likely to re-adopt her American accent when you go back there, especially as that is what she hears at home. Or she may be like mine and stick with your accent. Probably best not to worry about that.

The 'th' thing - The 'd' sound tends to be on hard 'th' (them) whereas the f/v thing gets done to soft 'th' (three sounding like free). The particular confusion you're worried about may not be an issue.

Anyway, hope she settles in and has a lovely time here smile

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 11:52:37

>Also, what does "naice" mean? I see it on mumsnet all the time, but I have no idea what it means.

Its a joke. Faux posh pronunciation. If you ever find it written on a shopping list abandoned in a trolley you'll know a MNer is nearby grin

Fairylea Mon 19-Nov-12 11:53:22

Off track but naice reminds me of the way Borat says nice. That's where I thought it had come from !!

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 11:59:57

Griima, do MN-ers do that? ... write naice on a shopping list and leave it in a trolley?

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 12:00:28

Regarding the pronunciation of "herb": The dictionary provides the following note on its etymology:

Middle English: via Old French from Latin herba 'grass, green crops, herb'. Although herb has always been spelled with an h, pronunciation without it was usual until the 19th century and is still standard in the US.

The vocalized "h" at the beginning is a relatively new change to the word, and it appears to only happened in Britain. We Americans kept the original pronunciation.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 12:01:02

Fairylea, verrry naice. Verrry naice. Hadn't thought of that before smile

MrsMelon Mon 19-Nov-12 12:02:03

TASIS is an American school in Egham, about 25 mins depending on traffic. She will be safe from the foreigners there smile.

Really, she needs to start saying pavement, herbs, aluminium, rubbish etc, while she is over here. I think you will confuse her by being strict - the poster upthread who taught about the differences and then left it at that speaks a lot of sense.

I think you need to relax about her accent. We lived in NZ for a year as children and my sister and I picked up really broad kiwi accents for the duration. On returning to the UK, we dropped them almost immediately and now both speak RP again.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 12:02:51

>Griima, do MN-ers do that? ... write naice on a shopping list and leave it in a trolley?
I hope so <wistful>. I'd really like to find a list including naice ham, fruit shoots and pombears. (wanders way OT)

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 12:06:05

Vintage, thanks for the etymology, I didn't know that the US form was closer to the latin. Nevertheless, I still contend 'erb sounds a bit silly in the UK; we know what you mean but we just think why drop the h. You wouldn't say, oh we found a lovely 'Otel in France, would you.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 12:07:29

Grima smile smile smile

MariaMandarin Mon 19-Nov-12 12:09:37

"The vocalized "h" at the beginning is a relatively new change to the word, and it appears to only happened in Britain. We Americans kept the original pronunciation."

Which means exactly nothing. Until the 18 th century it was perfectly polite to refer to your vagina as a your cunt, but try teaching you daughter that on the grounds of historical accuracy and see how far it gets you.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 12:11:26

>You wouldn't say, oh we found a lovely 'Otel in France, would you.
There are people who refer to 'an 'otel' rather than 'a hotel' with an aspirated H. It sounds pretentious; regardless of the impeccable reasons for doing so, the same applies to 'erb.

Never mind the rest, make sure your DD knows what we mean by pavement here - and even more when you're back in the US what it means there. That's about the only difference I can think of that actually matters.

legalalien Mon 19-Nov-12 12:13:40

I didn't realise that about pavement. Interesting.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 12:15:19

Oh...Maria has reminded me of another one which could be an issue...'fanny' is a different bit of anatomy in the UK to the US.

AndiMac Mon 19-Nov-12 12:16:49

You are moving continents and your worry is how your daughter, your FIVE year old, pronounces things?

As others have said, she will pick up the local accent in no time (whether you like it or not) and really, there are far bigger things you should be thinking about it in regards to your move.

BarbecuedBillygoats Mon 19-Nov-12 12:22:47

Istorically lots of things were different

I'm still trying to get my head round the tt thing. I and my children' and dh would pronounce the ts in better, butter etc

EauRouge Mon 19-Nov-12 12:30:48

Have to say, OP, your question is a bit odd. How long have you been in the UK? Why don't you want your DD to have an English accent? I wonder if it's because you're a bit homesick.

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 12:31:43

Re: Pavements. Yes, we're aware of what it means in the UK (it was one of those things I looked up years ago when Adele's Chasing Pavements song was a hit). And she knows about rubbish, loo, etc.

RichTeas "Nevertheless, I still contend 'erb sounds a bit silly in the UK; we know what you mean but we just think why drop the h. You wouldn't say, oh we found a lovely 'Otel in France, would you."

The point was that the English, during the times they (you?) colonized the North American continent, did NOT pronounce the h in the beginning of herb, and we Americans maintain that original English pronunciation. It was the English who changed how they pronounced it on their island. We Americans left it as is.

mummytime Mon 19-Nov-12 12:33:37

There is actually a bus to ACL in Cobham, and I think the one that does door to door includes Guildford.
Guildford is posher than Woking (and certainly alder shot which is full of Squaddies not Officers in my experience). My children all pronounce the "tt" in letter. Actually my 3 state school educated children all have slightly different accents. DC1 can be extremely posh, DC2 is pretty typical Surrey but can do a great Peckham, and DC3 is typical Guildford child.

There are lots of American's in Guildford, and none of those I know have been at all worried about their children's accent (and they themselves come from a wide range of States eg, South Carolina, Florida, Massachusetts, California etc.).

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 12:36:08

EauRouge: I don't mind if she acquires an English accent---as I said before, it's inevitable---but I don't want her to drop the tt in butter, bitter, letter, etc. Plus, she's still young and her brain is still figuring out language, I'm afraid that she'll lose the ability to say the American r and not be able to pick it up again. If we return to the US, she might not be able to fully revert to American English.

lljkk Mon 19-Nov-12 12:36:53

I'm American and I say the h clearly in herbs. confused I'm sure my parents did/do, too. But I wouldn't stress about it either way.

Out of curiosity, OP, to-MAY-toe or toe-MAA-toe?

Just WAIT until you encounter the British pronunciations of route, impedance, conservatory, garage, controversy and issue.

Most American five year olds would think there was nothing rude about saying fanny. Just like Brits don't think of fags as rude. Someone might want to clue OP up on those.

mummytime Mon 19-Nov-12 12:38:13

Btw Vintage if you want to have a nice time here, do try to adapt, and not assume everything from the US is better.
At the time of the colonists there were a very wide way of pronouncing all words in England (never mind the rest of the UK), much wider than today. In the US there are still words pronounced very differently in different parts eg slough. Unless you are a professional linguist I don't think you can tell us how words were pronounced 400+ years ago, whatever you might have been told at school.

EauRouge Mon 19-Nov-12 12:41:40

I'm sure she'll pick it up again once you move back. I don't think a speech therapist would be the right person, one of those drama voice coaches is probably your best bet.

If she does go to a school where they (god forbid!) drop their Ts then she'll probably end up with a school accent and a home accent. I was mocked at primary school for being 'posh' and ended up blending in at school and then reverting to my real accent at home.

My DD1 ends up speaking with a Canadian accent if she spends 2 minutes in conversation with DH and then goes back to an English accent when she's speaking to me. She always pronounces 'garage' like a Canadian though grin

I really think you are worrying over nothing.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 12:45:06

Vintage, most of North American English is a relic of the English colonisers of the day. Indeed, the East Coast accent is said to be closer to 17th-18th century English English than the standard English we now use. Indeed, if you go to the Indian sub-continent, you will find impeccable Victorian English being widely used. English is constantly evolving in Britain, less so in the colonies. Although your black rappers and entertainers are doing an excellent job of vitalising American English too.

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 12:46:23

lljkk: I say to-MAY-toe, as does my husband. I also say "root" (rhymes with loot) for route.

I have no idea how the British would say impedance. I'm a physicist, but I don't think I ever had a British professor; im-PEED-ance is how we say it in the US.

"Conservatory" is pronounced "con SERV a tor ee" by Americans; the English seem to omit the "o" (if I'm hearing it correctly). Garage, controversy, and issue...yeah, I can hear (and appreciate) the differences between the American and British pronunciations.

ScrambledSmegs Mon 19-Nov-12 12:47:29

According to a linguistics scholar I used to know, all words in the English language used to be pronounced as they were spelt. For example 'Knight' used to be pronounce 'K-nig-ut'.

Thank goodness language evolved, eh, otherwise we'd all sound like massive twats grin

Selim Mon 19-Nov-12 12:48:04

I have some sympathy as I have a beautiful Scottish lilt and my dcs speak with a midlands accent of which I am not fond. However, its their voice and not mine so I have to let them get on with it.

I don't think it is especially helpful to claim a superior pronunciation on account of American pronunciations being closer to 16/17/18th century English. The UK has always had a broad range of accents, non more correct than the others and language evolves. I wouldn't go to France and talk in 17th century French and claim superiority over a native speaker of 21st century French.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 12:49:52

mummytime, is there really that much variation in your childrens' accents. How do you differentiate typical Surrey from typical Guildford, for example?

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 12:52:47

RichTeas: your most recent post reminds me of something. The word jewelry/jewellery. From what I recall, Webster (who had a lot of influence on American orthography...he's the guy who removed the u from "colour", changed "centre" to "center", etc.) chose to remove the supposedly unnecessary letters in "jewellery", writing it as "jewelry" to represent his particular pronunciation of the word. The thing is, not everyone pronounced it as he did. Even today, you find Americans who say "jewellery" as the British do, rather than "jewelry" as is the standard American way of saying it, and many of these folks even have trouble spelling the word the American away since it's not written as they would pronounce it.

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Mon 19-Nov-12 12:53:36

ScambledSmegs I'm pretty sure you've got that the wrong way around. Words were spelt how they were pronounced (by the individual) as dictionaries hadn't been invented grin.

Hence the many different variations of surnames spellings for example.

<high-fives madwomanintheattic and EauRouge>

DH and I are Canadian. Both DDs (9 and 6) were born in London and sound perfectly English (or as perfectly English as a north-Londoner can sound grin ). When we go back to Canada in the summers, they get teased a bit by their Canadian friends but within a day or two they are sounding completely Canadian. The reverse happens when we return to London and they go back to school and see all their friends - a bit of teasing, then back to being proper little English schoolgirls.

OP, you perhaps don't realise but regional accents are a HUGE deal here in the UK, much much more so than in North America. People care IMMENSELY about them. You might not have realised this when you posted your OP. All I am saying is that you should tread softly.... this is meant in a friendly way.... smile

Limelight Mon 19-Nov-12 12:55:28

The American 'r'? I feel a campaign to reclaim it for all of humankind! Thank God the Americans are keeping English proper eh? wink

Seriously though OP, you might be fighting a losing battle here. What I can't work out is what the worst case scenario for you is. If your DD does lose her American 'r', or says 'th' incorrectly, or drops the 'tt' from letter, what's going to happen to her? With a good education and input from you, she'll learn about the 'appropriateness' of language and speak in subtly different ways depending on her audience. And that's fine isn't it?

I speak as a London dwelling university educated professional... with a broad north-eastern accent. Of course my accent softens and neutralises when I'm at work or in company other than my family. Human beings are very clever monkeys!

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Mon 19-Nov-12 12:56:30

At least she will learn to say "can't" properly. wink

ScrambledSmegs Mon 19-Nov-12 12:57:20

Unless there is something seriously wrong with your DD's speech, OP, I wouldn't bother with a therapist. If you go back to the US she will rapidly adapt. A good SALT will also ensure that your DD uses her own accent, not someone else's.

ScrambledSmegs Mon 19-Nov-12 12:59:11

It was probably the way my friend phrased it, Pointy, but I know what you mean.

But if you think about it, how did we end up with that crazy spelling of knight anyway? Must have been because it was pronounced that way wink

Pooka Mon 19-Nov-12 13:02:09

As a family we all live in the south east.

Dcs occasionally say bu-er or le-er in transition between school and home. I do pick up on it, but actually see the flexibility that enables them to switch between different types of speech with an awareness of audience a very positive thing.

I shared a flat at university with 4 guys, one from Scotland, one from Yorkshire, one from Belfast and one from Wales. I used to return home to London and get asked whether I was from Australia by people in shops. Was as if I'd picked up a smidgen of each accent. When talking to my grandmother there would be clipped cut glass tones,, completely different to my accent with friends from school. Dh similar - public school educated, working class parents. Now capable of slipping easily from one form of speech to another.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 13:04:31

Vintage, you've got me on that one. I hadn't even been aware that there was a difference in pronunciation for jewellery, and furthermore you have clarified why in recent years I have been getting confused about its spelling (obviously using an American spell checker, but not being aware there are two variants). How funny.

LaVolcan Mon 19-Nov-12 13:10:39

'Knight' used to be pronounce 'K-nig-ut'.

Now I thought that the gh used to be pronounced like a slightly harder ch as the ch in loch, or the current Dutch gh. Hence James Naughtie - pronounces his name noch-ty and not norty, which is what most of us would say.

ivykaty44 Mon 19-Nov-12 13:13:47

I have a Japanese student staying with me (we are in the Midlands) and my dd1's boyfriend is a Jordy who moved down here to work - bless my student can't understand a word he says and actually asked if he was speaking English grin

Op enjoy your stay and listen out for all the differences in the wonderful we we speak over here - it is diverse

ScrambledSmegs Mon 19-Nov-12 13:15:55

Ooh, not sure LaVolcan. Have lost touch with aforesaid linguistics bod, so can't ask him. I'm pretty sure there are some experts on MN, so maybe someone can come forward to clarify it?

I'm definitely not an expert - you can probably tell grin

ScrambledSmegs Mon 19-Nov-12 13:17:37

Bloody hard word to pronounce if it is the case, btw. I just tried your way and spat on my laptop...

StillSquiffy Mon 19-Nov-12 13:20:32

Your DD's accent is the very least of what you should be worrying about in terms of moving to the US. I'd put 'how to make sure she will fit in and be happy' right there at the top except then you'd have to accept that the first rule of fitting in means talking in the same way as everyone around you

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 13:23:37

I'm always tickled by the irony of 'glottal stop' itself having a double t. 'Glo'al stop'.

lljkk Mon 19-Nov-12 13:27:34

Out of curiosity, Vintage, would you seek elocution lessons for your DD if you went to live in Hawaii, Alabama, Boston or The Bronx? Why not?

Toptack Mon 19-Nov-12 13:36:43

OP I'm confused about the tt thing. My American nieces pronounce letter as if it rhymes with cheddar, as do all their friends and family (on both coasts). Is this not common? Not that anyone is worrying about it...

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 13:39:51

lljkk: If we moved anywhere in the US, I would insist that she pronounce all words the standard (generic) American way, regardless of where we lived. I wouldn't want her to have a Southern drawl (Alabama), for example. In fact, I myself grew up in the Southern part of the US and never acquired a Southern accent, which has led to good jobs prospects for me. Even in the US, Southern accents/drawls suggest a lack of education on the part of the speaker. It could be a hindrance in some occupations.

Bronx or Boston accent? Heaven forbid. Those are just awful.

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 13:43:16

StillSquiffy: But I'm not British; I can't pretend a British accent. It would be phony, unnatural and awkward, and I doubt it would do much to make me fit it. Yes, I will say the British "conserv'try" instead of "conservatory" (especially since the American word would be the otherwise ambiguous "sun room"), and I use "take away" instead of "to go".

basildonbond Mon 19-Nov-12 13:45:30

When we moved to New York for a while I was convinced that ds1 (3 at the time) would pick up an American accent ... far from it! He ended up sounding more and more English (and for some strange reason, much posher than he'd sounded at nursery in London) but he started using American words e.g. sneakers, cookies, trash, sidewalk etc ... very bizarre ...

6 months in a primary school back in south London put him right though grin

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 13:46:34

Toptack: Yes, it's commonplace to hear dd where tt should be vocalized (e.g., so that better nearly rhymes with cheddar). I think many people voice an incomplete t sound so that they stop short of finishing the tt, which sounds a lot like a dd sound.

CecilyP Mon 19-Nov-12 13:48:07

She may not be able to pick up the r sound again, but I don't know why you think that is a major problem. Then again, there is no reason why she shouldn't. I had a friend who emigrated to Canada when she was 18, came back for a holiday a year later and you would never have known she had once been a cockney.

If you don't want her to drop the tt sound in butter, you can always correct her (as many English parents would) although the glottal stop is something she is less likely to pick up in a more affluent area. Anyway, don't Americans say budder?

Regarding use of words, I am reminded of a cartoon captioned, 'Lord Oaksey was my fag at Eton.' 'Boy, you British sure are frank.'

StillSquiffy Mon 19-Nov-12 13:51:16

Still - you don't have to change how you talk at all - you'll be making friends with grown ups who (usually) look past the accent to the person underneath.

It's when you are 5 that fitting-in in terms of clothes/accents/hairstyles is make or break in the playground, and where being different is not always a good idea. Let her find her own level when she gets to school, don't make it harder for her. If she wants to be different, then fine, but I think you'll find she'll want to change her accent (and start eating marmite) in a heartbeat.

amyboo Mon 19-Nov-12 13:53:25

But I always find the Americans don't pronounce the tt sound! My DS's Elmo ABCs app for example drives me crazy because he says "leddar" instead of "letter" etc.... And fwiw, I grew up in the home counties, went to a posh school and can't for the life of me pronouce the th sound. My brother and sister both can/do. So, I really don't think you can do a huge amount to influence these things (oh, and I had 3 years of elocution lessons in primary school btw) :-)

IsabelleRinging Mon 19-Nov-12 13:54:08


GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 14:00:22

If you're in Surrey rather than Lunnun chances are those tts will be more enunciated than standard US, rather than missing.

Fortunately, Vintage, most Brits can understand a wide variety of US accents so you probably won't need to 'pretend British' very often. I rarely have had to 'pretend American' in the US - place names can be an issue, try getting a cab to Waltham from Logan using british pronunciation 'Woltham'. I learned to always ask for Waaalthm.

duchesse Mon 19-Nov-12 14:02:51

Frankly I wouldn't bother- she'll be speaking like the other children in very few months I'll wager. At that age they shed accents so quickly. Ours came back from Canada with strong North American accents (which they can still produce if needed) aged 6, 9 and 11 and were "back to normal" within 3 months.

ShoeJunkie Mon 19-Nov-12 14:03:42

FWIW th and r and later developing sounds in a child's speech sound system and I wouldn't necessarily expect a 5 year old to have acquired them just yet.
Any speech therapist worth their salt would tell you the same.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 14:04:00

How about a train to Gloo-chester ?

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 14:09:40

RichTeas: Isn't it something like "Gloster" or "Gloshter"?

I don't think I'll ever manage to say all the English placenames properly. I might have to resort to latitude/longitude coordinates instead. wink

lljkk Mon 19-Nov-12 14:11:57

Um so, Vintage: what do you think if you meet someone with Boston or Alabama accent? Do you reflexively think "I can't respect you because of the terrible way you speak, it indicates you're ill-educated & not all that intelligent or you would have learned to speak differently." ?

I always find the Americans don't pronounce the tt sound!

Except in Wimbledon, obviously there's a T in that. wink

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 14:12:35

Vintage, just don't give directions with a north, south, east or west, no one has a clue which they are!

Doctor Foster
Went to Gloucester
In a shower of rain.
He stepped in a puddle
Right up to his middle
And never went there again!

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 14:14:00

iijkk, once had a massive argument with an American friend over whether there was a T in Wimbledon!

Limelight Mon 19-Nov-12 14:14:08

Your average Brit can't manage all the place names, so you're not alone! grin

lljkk Mon 19-Nov-12 14:14:45

I want to scream every time I hear a BBC news reader say "Las Angeleeze".

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 14:16:46

How about LAS (as in gas) Vegas. Correct (American) pronunciation is LOS. For me that's worse than Las Angeleze" (which is also Los, actually).

AnnaBegins Mon 19-Nov-12 14:17:11

Hahaha at there being a "standard" American accent! There isn't. My (American) linguistics professor at university pointed out to us that, exactly as in Britain, no one speaks this elusive "standard" English/American English we all harp on about, we all have regionalisms/accents to some degree.

Ephiny Mon 19-Nov-12 14:19:37

I've never heard any English-speaker pronounce a double 't' in letter any differently from a single 't'. That sounds more like Italian pronunciation or something confused.

I did have voice coaching lessons as a university student and found them very useful. It wasn't at all about teaching a particular accent though. More about breathing and projecting your voice, and speaking clearly and at the appropriate pace. It gave me more confidence for presentations and interviews etc.

For a 5 year old 'at risk' of picking up the local accent though confused. I don't really get it.

I thought Guildford was posh, anyway?

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 14:22:21

"Las" is the Spanish female plural pronoun. It's always pronounced like "loss". So, we say "loss vay gus" for Las Vegas and "loss ange el us" for "Los Angeles".

As far as Wimbledon is concerned, I don't know anyone who pronounces it with a t. Of course, I play tennis, so I've always known how it was pronounced.

lljkk: My internalized reflex would be "Yikes, that's painful to hear!" but I would do my best to not display my discomfort. I may not like to hear those accents, but I'm not a rude person.

lljkk Mon 19-Nov-12 14:22:21

AS a native Southern Californian I beg to differ, we say "Las" Angeles & Las Vegas in same way. Which sometimes bothers me as a Spanish speaker, but then I'd have to get het up about saying it "Las Bay-gus" if I were being perfectionist (which my California self would never be).

This difference of opinion just goes to prove the lack of "standard" American English.

madwomanintheattic Mon 19-Nov-12 14:26:55

Ha ha ha.


Ha ha ha.

That is all. This has to be a wind up.

<Aldershot has changed considerably since the days of the lovely Joan.>

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 14:27:37

Okay, so what does "wind up" mean? This is the second time I've read it today.

lljkk Mon 19-Nov-12 14:27:39

...And then I'd have to refer to LA as "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula", with proper Spanish pronunciations, which is a bit of a mouthful, you have to admit.

lljkk Mon 19-Nov-12 14:28:16

How much time have you spent in UK, vintage?

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 14:29:15

lljkk, are you saying that as a Californian you saw "las" instead of "loss"? are you kidding?

AnnaBegins Mon 19-Nov-12 14:30:29

Have to agree completely lljkk, and I'm not entirely sure a native Spanish speaker would agree with the commonly accepted American pronunciations of place names like those and others, so the whole genuine pronunciation argument (e.g. 'erbs) falls down there too.

There is nothing wrong with a regional accent of any kind, American, British or otherwise.

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 14:31:36

lljkk: I think most Angelenos are fine with just Los Angeles (with the pronounced g).wink

We're very new to the UK. We're back in the US right now, spending the week with family during Thanksgiving. We were in Guildford last week, though, looking at apartments, checking out schools, etc.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 14:32:10

wind up - "pulling someone's leg" humour

LaVolcan Mon 19-Nov-12 14:32:49

I'm confused - isn't it Los Angeles i.e. masculine and Las Vegas - feminine, so they shouldn't be pronounced the same way?

However, Latin American Spanish does differ from Peninsular Spanish - I often wonder if the differences are as great as those between British English and American English. (Trying to keep the thread vaguely on topic.)

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 14:37:00

>looking at apartments
flats wink.

A 'wind up' is what makes some people on MN tick ...sorry, not helpful...it means 'spoof'.

Place names are a minefield. I once was chatting to an American on a London-bound flight who had sorted out Gloucester (there' a Gloster in MA, easy...though locally it may be Glosturr, no R droppers they) so was moving on to try to figure out Cirencester. He may have thought I was winding him up when I told him.

lljkk Mon 19-Nov-12 14:41:33

Wind up means we don't know whether to believe a single word you wrote is true or not, Vintage.

But thank you for the thread, it's been good entertainment.

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 14:41:49

Thanks, RichTeas, for explaining that.

We lazy Americans say "loss" for both "Los Angeles" as well as "Las Vegas." However, in Spanish, "los" and "las" are pronounced differently.

Grimma: I thought flats were apartments where the entire unit is all on one level? Oh, and what the flying spaghetti monster is a "maisonette"? My French tells me "little house" but pictures I've seen of "maisonetters" on RightMove or Zoopla do not looks like small houses.

Actually, we're less interested in flats than terraced houses. Our daughter wants a place with stairs.

LaVolcan Mon 19-Nov-12 14:42:28

Did you try him out on Towcester and Bicester?

(Toaster and Bister for the uninitiated.)

lljkk Mon 19-Nov-12 14:42:32

oh, and thanks for the tip about Thanksgiving, means I can expect my dad to phone Thursday. Maybe I'll surprise & phone him first, even.

stopcallingmefrank Mon 19-Nov-12 14:46:05

Maisonette is estate agent jargon for a flat on more than one floor. If you lived in one, your dd would have her stairs grin

BarbecuedBillygoats Mon 19-Nov-12 14:49:28

How does one put a t in Wimbledon?

quietlysuggests Mon 19-Nov-12 14:53:48


Seriously though...............seriously.

ScrambledSmegs Mon 19-Nov-12 14:55:15

Ooh, had a university friend from Gloucester who swore blind that Cirencester was pronounced Sissiter, and we were all very hmm, assumed it was a wind-up. Especially as I'd been there several times, and everyone I met there called it Siren-sester.

I looked it up recently, and what do you know? She was (partly) right. It used to be pronounced Sissiter by locals as an abbreviation. Not many people use it now though, so I have no idea where she got the idea that it was prevalent there.

BloooCowWonders Mon 19-Nov-12 14:56:03

Interesting that the OP doesn't want her dd to fit in to her new environment. But had a long S&B thread about doing just that herself clothes-wise...

Cahoots Mon 19-Nov-12 14:57:05

You can try

Plymouth = plymuff. Not ply' mowth
Falmouth = falmuff. Not fal' mowth

wentshopping Mon 19-Nov-12 14:57:50

Waves to madwoman
Couple of things OP:
If you had a top floor flat, you would have stairs to get to it. A block of flats is the UK version of an apartment block.
A wind up is pronounced to rhyme with "mind" - not with wind as in weather.
As a Brit living in the US I have listened as my dds picked up a gentle Texas accent - a watered-down version of their peers' accent. It completely disappears when we come back to the UK in the summer, and then they sound like Hermione Grainger for a couple of days when we return.
Mad I think dd3 has lost her English accent - an in-joke here as dd3 is non-verbal - on her communication device she now types "Mom" instead of "mummy"
My kids still laugh at the time I tried to order a Dr Pepper (a type of US fizzy drink) in a drive through - my English " a doctor pepper, please" was being interpreted as all sorts of other items over the intercom until I finally screeched "a dactar peyprrr" ( and left off the "please") - so you may have to adapt your accent to the situation you are in wink

ScrambledSmegs Mon 19-Nov-12 15:03:11

wentshopping - You've just remiunded me of the time I was on holiday in France and a friend ordered a Bison burger. The waiter was completely confused for ages as she tried to make herself understood, until she said "Un Beeesson Burrrrgurrrr" in her best franglais piss-taking style - and the waiter finally understood.

We were shock that he didn't think she was taking the piss.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 15:05:01

Pronunciation of Llangwyryfon for ten ?

Cahoots Mon 19-Nov-12 15:05:06

By the way OP I think it is unusual to use the term folks in the UK unless you are referring to Old Folks.

(please correct me if I am wrong, it has been known blush )

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 15:05:29

Blooo: What makes you think I don't want her to fit in? Of course I do. But I also her to speak a nice variant of English, be it the standard American English or RP.

As far as Dr. Pepper is concerned, I used to live in Texas, and they just love Dr. Pepper there. I was pleasantly surprised to see that one can buy Dr. Pepper at Sainsbury's (though not root beer hmm).

A maisonette is a flat with its own entrance, may or may not have stairs.
Locals where I live call it Chidester... grin

Wimbleton? confused

stopcallingmefrank Mon 19-Nov-12 15:05:53

My favourite accent misunderstanding was when dp asked for a bottle of water in Miami airport. The person serving seemed to be a new immigrant and could not understand the English prononciation of water. In the end dp gave up and said 'una botella de agua, por favor.'

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 15:06:54

"Pronunciation of Llangwyryfon for ten ?"


ScrambledSmegs Mon 19-Nov-12 15:07:31

Try asking a local for directions to Mousehole in Cornwall. That was fun. And not a little confusing.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 15:08:07


VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 15:08:22

Mousehole? How is that pronounced? I have zero idea how to manage that one.

LaVolcan Mon 19-Nov-12 15:08:37

Don't confuse the issue RichTeas.
Llangwyryfon is Welsh which is a phonetic language, so it's pronounced as it's spelt.

To help you though ll is a letter, which doesn't exist in English, and w, and y are vowels, and the f is pronounced as an English V

ScrambledSmegs Mon 19-Nov-12 15:09:05

As far as I could make out, it's pronounced something like Muzzle. But faster confused

wentshopping Mon 19-Nov-12 15:13:00

As far as Dr. Pepper is concerned, I used to live in Texas, and they just love Dr. Pepper there

I can see we will have to work on your grasp of irony, too, OP.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 19-Nov-12 15:13:02

>Pronunciation of Llangwyryfon for ten ?"

ah, I can tell now you will fit in perfectly grin

If you go north of the border to Hawick, its pronounced much like expectorating.

BarbecuedBillygoats Mon 19-Nov-12 15:44:24

I would suggest avoiding norfolk entirely

I would have said it was mou more than my
Mouzle quickly

Viviennemary Mon 19-Nov-12 15:47:46

At the age of five she will soon start talking like her schoolfriends. Absolutely no need for elocution lessons. It will only give her a complex. I hate voice police.

Cahoots Mon 19-Nov-12 15:48:06

Mousehole = mows'ul. with the mow rhyming with cow

Even though I am Cornish born and bred i still can't understand some of the old fishermens accents.

ScrambledSmegs Mon 19-Nov-12 16:09:12

Thanks Cahoots and BBQgoats. I couldn't work it out from his accent, and he mumbled like anything! Not to mention speaking both really, really fast, and incredibly slowly, IYKWIM.

Cahoots, can you throw any light on how Greensplat is supposed to be pronounced? We saw a sign for it near St Austell, and were wondering if it's said how it's spelt.

Cahooots Mon 19-Nov-12 16:52:45

I had an American friend who moved to South Africa with her three DC, her youngest DD who was 6 or 7 instantly started talking with a thick Afrikaans accent in order to fit in with her new classmates shock It was very convincing but completely fake. She kept it up the whole three years they lived in SA even when they went home for the holidays. It sounded a bit ridiculous but there was nothing they could do to stop her. In The end the parents, quite rightly, realised that it was up to their DD how she spoke. it was funny though
I also know sibling DC in Canada one who kept a perfect English accent and the other who sounds like a true Canadian.
Some accents are more contagious than others and some people take on accents more readily than others.

Cahooots Mon 19-Nov-12 16:59:27

Errr, very sorry, but I have no idea how to pronounce Greensplat. sad
I guess it's said like it looks but quicker and less clearly IYSWIM. ie Grynsplut but I just made that up grin

<goes off to check Cornish Kernowyon Passport--

Cahooots Mon 19-Nov-12 17:02:03

St Austell is Sen'auzzle (one word) grin

Cahooots Mon 19-Nov-12 17:02:59

St Austell is Sen'auzzle (one word) grin

DeWe Mon 19-Nov-12 17:12:38

It's fine if the OP is moving to Guildford. The waiting list for SALT is roughly a year, so she'll have plenty of time to pick up a beautiful Surrey accent. grin

I would associate missing the "tt" sound out with Americans though confused

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 19-Nov-12 17:15:10

marvellous, what a hoot, just killed 15 mins for me. OP I am English and don't pronounce my tt as dd. Most English folk don't AFAIK, so what makes you think it is the 'American' pronunciation?

Still not conviced this isn't a wind up, although a very good one

FairPhyllis Mon 19-Nov-12 17:15:18

Actually, most US dialects pronounce the /t/ in 'letter' differently anyway - they do what is called a 'flap' instead of the aspirated /t/ that RP etc do. It sounds to British ears like you are saying 'budder' instead of 'butter'. She will probably lose that feature.

So there you go OP. It could go either way. Either she will learn to pronounce aspirated /t/ or she'll get a glottal stop. If you're actually serious about controlling what accent she gets, send her to a private school where the chances of having more RP speakers is higher. But I think you have to accept that there is huge dialectal variety in the UK, and that non-RP accents are not necessarily stigmatised.

mummytime Mon 19-Nov-12 17:22:12

Guildford children to my ears just sound like children with RP, Surrey teens typically sound RP with. Smidgen of Esturian. All my children have at times dropped their "tt" s etc. and usually get teased about it by me. But it's not a normal accent.

OP there aren't mant apartments/flats in Guildford, there are some bungalows (all on one level) but most are pretty much on the edge. Land is quite expensive, so most houses are multi level, from detached, semi-detached and terraced; although a lot of the last are 3 floors if new built and called "town houses". If your kids are going to state school, I would push to be shown properties south of the A3.

citronella Mon 19-Nov-12 17:29:12

Dear OP,

I group up in French speaking Europe with an English mother and attended an American/Int'l school. I have primary school age tapes of me speaking with an American twang. Later I attended English Public school and am told by some I that I developed a 'posh' accent. Later still, my speech morphed into non-descript Anglo/American. I even picked up Geordie lingo at some point. Now, the accent scales are probably tipped towards North London.

The point is it makes no difference to who I am inside and accents can change depending on where you are. I would strongly strongly suggest that you invest your energies on ensuring that your daughter settles happily in her new surroundings. All this worry about her accent and elocution will just stress her out, waste your money and serves no meaningful purpose.

madwomanintheattic Mon 19-Nov-12 17:34:00

Ooo, hello, went!

Huge rofl at dd3. grin that's made my day!

I lived in a flat with stairs in Guildford. true story.

The old St Luke's hosp redevelopment. I'd suggest the grammar, tbh. In an educational sense, rather than linguistic, obv. <ponders>

Oh, a five yo. Place is packed full of worthies. I'm sure there are montessoris pouring out of your ears.

<why am I even engaging?!>

I do miss Guildford. I don't even know why - I spent my whole life on the train. <sigh>

Still, I only have a billion things to do. It should keep me away from them for a bit...

madwomanintheattic Mon 19-Nov-12 17:35:08

I live in a condo with stairs now. Billions of the blardy things.

<makes random comment>

TalkinPeace2 Mon 19-Nov-12 17:41:04

As a kid I spent my summers in the US, so had a US accent from July to October and a UK one through till July
FFS give your kid a chance to FIT IN not make her stand out even more.

Will you be taking lessons on how to speak proper like?

desertgirl Mon 19-Nov-12 17:43:33

OP you will just be like lots of British parents reminding their children for the 1,432nd time that it is 'letter' and not 'le'er' and your daughter will acquire a school voice and a home voice like generations of kids before her.

My 2 are at an international school with classmates from all over - have one who drops his 't's and one who Americanises them (waader instead of water), both of which drive me mental. Anyway, they both can speak how they like to their little friends but I nag them about talking properly at home. And sound exactly like my mother when I'm doing it blush

TalkinPeace2 Mon 19-Nov-12 17:45:59

Go rent a house in Lympne grin

SchnitzelVonKrumm Mon 19-Nov-12 17:52:57

I don't understand the 'tt' thing. I work with loads of Americans and they ALL say 'ledder', 'budder', 'compuuder' etc.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 19-Nov-12 17:58:26

The difference between a Boston / New Jersey / Northern California / Georgia / Texas accent and the difference between a Geordie / Brummie / Scouse / Dorset / South Ken accent are such that all generalisations are pointless.
I get teased for speaking French with an 'Oc accent as that is where I got fluent ....

VintageRainBoots Mon 19-Nov-12 18:06:32

Re: "I don't understand the 'tt' thing. I work with loads of Americans and they ALL say 'ledder', 'budder', 'compuuder' etc."

Americans aren't really saying "dd", but it could sound like it to someone who isn't used to hearing the sound. To us, there's an obvious distinction between "better" and "bedder", but I don't think most British can hear it. As I said before, it's as if the "tt" sound in the middle isn't completed, so you hear something intermediate between dd and tt. To us, the "tt" in the middle is crisp, and the "dd" in the middle is thicker, clunkier. They're not the same sound at all.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 19-Nov-12 18:09:27

I can hear it.
And I know that the pronunciation is NOT the same all over the US.

EauRouge Mon 19-Nov-12 18:10:03

You are really putting way too much thought into this.

madwomanintheattic Mon 19-Nov-12 18:11:54

Eau, you have to if you're going to create an entire thread out of it.

Nice Christmas shopping in Guildford, anyway.

lljkk Mon 19-Nov-12 18:41:04

Is there anything else you're an expert in, Vintage? Besides physics and standard American English, I mean.

Ephiny Mon 19-Nov-12 19:16:14

This has got to be a wind-up, hasn't it? No one is this obtuse and lacking in self-awareness, regardless of their nationality.

The S&B thread as well. It looks a lot like an attempt to start a UK vs US bunfight. Or maybe it's just attention-seeking. It's weird, anyway. But quite entertaining, to be fair!

madwomanintheattic Mon 19-Nov-12 19:23:20

Of course it is. But it whiles away the long winter evenings, and all that.

madwomanintheattic Mon 19-Nov-12 19:24:07

<wanders over to s&b to gauge the level of whimsy>

DalekInAFestiveJumper Mon 19-Nov-12 19:26:58

FairPhyllis: I think you've hit a major point. In the UK, non RP accents are not necessarily stigmatized. In the US, noticable regional accents are often considered the province of the poorly educated. This is particularly true with younger people.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 22:31:21

Dalek, please. Non-RP accents are not necessarily stigmatized, well yes not stigmatized by others with non-RP accents.

It reminds me of a receptionist we used to have that would answer the phone with her poshest accent: "Chains & Co" and then when asked for the spelling would say "Certainly sir, that's 'c' 'haitch'..."!

amarylisnightandday Mon 19-Nov-12 23:10:16

Remember op that in the uk, fanny and shag have different meanings to in the states wink

mummytime Mon 19-Nov-12 23:43:13

As does rubber smile

whiskeytangofoxtrot Tue 20-Nov-12 00:04:37

Erm, if you're going to teach her anything it might be worth you being able to distinguish between English and British accents - RP is an English pronunciation.

SchrodingersSexKitten Tue 20-Nov-12 00:04:51

NOt convinced Americans really pronounce "better" and "bedder" differently.

How do Americans pronouce "intercontinental", OP?

LaVolcan Tue 20-Nov-12 00:18:48

What do Americans mean by shag? Is it er impolite, or is it just tobacco, or shag pile carpet?

steppemum Tue 20-Nov-12 00:31:21

OP - I have skimmed through and read bits and pieces of this thread and I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.

If you say out loud many of the things you are writing, you will appear unbelievably rude here.

Does it really not occur to you that you have just slated (wriiten off, despised) our language and the way it is pronounced, announced that it is not an acceptable way of talking for you daughter, and then proceeded to defend every American mispronounciation as valid and correct!! Take off your rose tinted spectacles OP!

Really you need to think a lot about your cultural adaptation. There is a set of books called 'Culture Shock country name' There must be one for Uk, it may be called Culture Shock Uk or it may be called Culture Shock England, find it, read it and learn from it!

For what it is worth, I spend a lot of time teaching my children to say things properly, reminding them that it is butter not bu'er etc. Not everyone in UK says aint (actually my ds latest one is ent, an abbreviation of aint, which I insist I can't possibly understand, so he grumbles and corrects himself.) Some of us ar eable to hold an actual conversation in correct English (although not correct American)

Children copy their 'best behaviour' way of speaking form their parents, and parents are their primary language teachers. My girls have never said f or v instead of th, but my ds has said f from when he started talking, and he was surrounded by people who all said th (not in uk at the time), we have battled to get him to use th.
But at school they will copy what the others say, and speak as they do. It is fine they are learning that language varies according to circumstance.

Just wait til she starts learning to write
Mummy, color, use of prepositions, not allowed to use gonna, no curly cursive script - tis a minefield!!!
If you want her to be 100% American, don't come and live in the UK. She will change, and when you return to US she will change again. You are giving her the opportunity to be an international citizen.

Where I come from in the US we say 'dd' for 'tt'

Oh but wait I have one of those horrible new york accents you, quote, don't like to hear

Let me introduce you to another classic MN saying: do you mean to be so rude?

I'd say it in New Yorkish but I imagine it would make your head explode.

steppemum Tue 20-Nov-12 00:35:24

sorry loads of mistakes, can't type to save my life.

steppemum Tue 20-Nov-12 00:37:05

and obviously in that last bit it should say colour, not color
time for bed I think!

steppemum Tue 20-Nov-12 00:43:07

actually - good point dreaming, she has managed to be rude about all English English speakers, and most American English speakers too.

Well done OP! (sorry, that was a bit of English irony, not particulary good, but thought I would break you in gently)

mathanxiety Tue 20-Nov-12 01:07:45

Innercon'inennul = intercontinental. The Ts are swallowed whole by the Ns.

'WimbleTon' is how one puts a T in Wimbledon. I lost count of the number of times I heard newsreaders announce the tennis scores from Wimbleton.

I know what you are saying about the TT sound vs the DD sound in American English, but in British English the TT is the same sound as in Time, TickTock, etc., and British ears don't distinguish between the TT and DD sounds, which are very close together. You can hear British actors getting it wrong on BBC series when an American character is being badly portrayed.

Vintage -- I disagree that a southern accent can be a drawback to a job seeker. Used correctly it can be a distinct advantage. If it has ever been a hindrance to you, you've been doing something wrong with it, like pairing it with terrible grammar and not enough teeth. Good grammar, nice teeth, no straw in the corner of your mouth and a southern accent will take you a long way.

'If we moved anywhere in the US, I would insist that she pronounce all words the standard (generic) American way, regardless of where we lived.'
I am wincing here -- how would you set about doing this?

If you are serious, please go and talk your issues through with someone.

<If you were moving to Chicago the TH as D would work fine. Or pretty much anywhere in Ireland. That is where the D/Th thing (pronounced 'Da Ting') originated.?

FlamingoBingo Tue 20-Nov-12 01:08:50

I think the best point in this debate was made by someone way up the thread:

"However, its their voice and not mine so I have to let them get on with it."

My father had elocution lessons, and came from a very posh family - his father was an Earl, he was brought up by nannies and governesses. And then he married a doctor's daughter - gasp! and his children went to a local state school - gasp! And we were told to say 'toilet' instead of 'lavatory' or 'loo', and 'pardon?' instead of 'what?'. And we said 'chine' instead of 'chayne' for chain etc. - just like on My Fair Lady grin

But when we moved from non-leafy Surrey to Herefordshire, everyone thought we had very, very posh accents! Now people I hardly know recognise my voice on the phone because of it's distinctive accent - a bit RP/posh:a bit non-posh bit of surrey (so slightly cockney-ish):a bit Welsh borders - and you know what? I'm bloody proud of it, and so should your daughter be of her accent when it emerges, as it'll be a lovely story of her life to date smile. And it's great fun when people try to place your accent grin

RichTeas Tue 20-Nov-12 01:47:04

steppemum, if you take offence at the OP's discussion you should perhaps read the thread more fully or when you are less tired. I didn't see anything rude whatsoever, and by the looks of things, neither did most of the other respondents. if anything the idea of elocution lessons for a 5 y.o. was/is seen as a possible/elaborate wind-up, but it soon becomes apparent that the OP is a newcomer and simply has a curiosity about language and accent, as most of the rest of us do.

AdoraJingleBells Tue 20-Nov-12 02:40:15


You said, a while back, that "las" is always pronounced "loss". Not in South America! And I know Spanish people who use "las" for the female plural. I think you may have been misinformed.

Back to your OP, DD is likely to adapt her speech for the situation - as in local accent at school and possibly mimic your accent when speaking with you. I've known a lot of children to do this when living overseas.

madwomanintheattic Tue 20-Nov-12 03:23:50

As an aside, dd1 got the bell at the regional spelling bee because a danged American couldn't pronounce that tricksy 'tt'.

True. It was her second run at regionals. The first year she went out because she was being thick (and we teased her mercilessly). The second year it was because the pronouncer didn't pronounce his double 't's. All the other kids were trying to get her to appeal. grin

We'll get our own back this year. Dd2 is on her way, and what with her dysarthria, if they ding her, I'll 'ave 'em for discrimination. <chortles>

FairPhyllis Tue 20-Nov-12 03:35:10

Non-RP accents are not necessarily stigmatized, well yes not stigmatized by others with non-RP accents.

Eh? I am an RP speaker and I don't look down on people with other accents or think it's amusing if someone says 'haitch'.

OP, I think what people are wound up about is that you are making sociolinguistic judgements about British English accents which, as an American, you are probably not in the best position to make. I mean, fights break out on here when British people say snooty things about other British accents, let alone when foreigners do it.

Horopu Tue 20-Nov-12 05:44:50

We have been in NZ for 3 years and ds3 who was three when we arrived still sounds very English. One girl in my class with an English mum and an NZ dad sounds very English and she has never been to the UK.

Some words are said the American way here such as yoghurt but as a boy in my class said - we are speaking English and Horopu is English so the way she says it must be right! wink

claraschu Tue 20-Nov-12 06:10:02

I think you have got everything backwards. You have NO IDEA of the appeal of an English accent to most Americans. When we're in the US, one of my kids only has to say "Harry Potter" with their cute British accent, to be surrounded by an admiring crowd of teenage girls. My husband can charm his way into the heart of any American flight attendant or hotel receptionist.

Me with my American accent? English people think I'm thick, and Americans don't notice me.

Where in the states are you from? I live in California and almost everyone here pronounces TT or T as a D.

amarylisnightandday Tue 20-Nov-12 07:11:41

Shag is a dance in America but a slang for inter course in uk. Hence me being b alarmed heating a 7 year old explain she had learned to shag really well once grin

amarylisnightandday Tue 20-Nov-12 07:12:49

And you need to learn how to say Z and garage properly.....

oh and yes, having read the rest of the thread 'D' is an approximation of the sound BUT it is the same sound in TT and DD (and my native Californian friends agree). So better and bedder would sound exactly the same and would sound closer to bedder but not exactly a D sound.

mrsnec Tue 20-Nov-12 07:36:46

Guildford still varies a lot in terms of accent depending on the area and the school and what the children pick up on at home. I grew up in that area. Friends can still tell I went to a large state comp on the Woking side and that as my DF is from Croydon and DM is from Epsom my Guildfordian Queens English is peppered with a few 'sarf larndan-isms' but I still pronounce everything properly. I agree that DC will change and then change again if you move back to the states but a move to the Ford isn't going to make DD sound all plummy overnight! My DSF had elocution lessons when he moved from Essex to Surrey which always makes me giggle!

lljkk Tue 20-Nov-12 07:45:02

Don't take it so seriously*, Steppemum. I take the OP's statements same as you except that I am enjoying putting forward questions laced with irony.

(*This is my new resolution, not to take anybody on MN all that seriously.)

Do people really not see how rude the OP's attitude is?

I mean, from an American POV it's really quite offensive (as well as barmy).

And I agree with math the southern accent on its own is not an automatic impediment. Oh that Bill Clinton, what a loser.

RichTeas Tue 20-Nov-12 09:44:18

dreaming, nope don't see it.

Ephiny Tue 20-Nov-12 09:54:33

I actually thought it was being Northern that was upposed to be an impediment for US presidential candidates, as it's more difficult for a northerner to get the Southern vote than the other way round?

And yes of course the OP is rude and silly. Wanting her child to speak a 'nice' variant of English, not an 'awful' or not-nice one? Which presumably applies to the vast majority of us here who don't speak RP or the 'standard' American way (whatever that is). Saying people with southern US accents sound uneducated, and claiming that it was her lack of such an accent that led to career success for her?

It's a wind-up though. Obviously it is.

Really, Rich?

'Bronx or Boston accent? Heaven forbid. Those are just awful.'

'I also her to speak a nice variant of English, be it the standard American English or RP.'

'My internalized reflex would be "Yikes, that's painful to hear!" but I would do my best to not display my discomfort. I may not like to hear those accents, but I'm not a rude person.'

I imagine the OP came on here thinking it was a bunch of Brits and no one would possess any of the accents she thinks are so awful. But as I do, yes, I think statements like this are pretty freaking rude.

I would guess that the OP has issues around this, if she grew up in the South and purposefully did not acquire the accent and feels that led to her getting a good job -- basically she is attaching over-importance to the accent, thinking that accounts for everything.

And while I'm not going to say accents don't ever affect anything, it is just one aspect to a person. I certainly know many many people in DC with southern accents who are very successful.

I'm not sure the OP realises how provincial her attitude is. Her daughter is going to grow up as a global citizen, in the 21st century, her life is not going to be ruined by a bit of an accent. If anything it will signal to people that she has international experience and a wealth of knowledge about the world.

HermioneE Tue 20-Nov-12 10:17:55

OP you will just be like lots of British parents reminding their children for the 1,432nd time that it is 'letter' and not 'le'er' and your daughter will acquire a school voice and a home voice like generations of kids before her.

^ This.

Go for a posh school in Guildford and your DC will probably end up correcting your pronunciation anyway.

I'd also echo those who have commented that an English accent seems to be attractive to Americans anyway. I point you towards the 'bottle' scene in 'Love Actually'- it's not made up.

lljkk Tue 20-Nov-12 10:52:25

I am DYING to know what OP thinks of Richard Feynman & Tom Lehrer.

Recent radio interviews with TL and he has lost much of his MA accent! It's shocking compared to the 1950s recordings. Down to years of exposure to Midwestern twang, I imagine.

RichTeas Tue 20-Nov-12 11:00:21

dreaming, I find the Bronx and Boston accents great. bettered only by a slow Southern drawl. that fact that someone else (on an internet forum no less) finds them ghastly is of no consequence. she's entitled to her opinion.

RichTeas Tue 20-Nov-12 11:03:37

lljkk, never heard the great man speak! thanks for posting that YT, I ahve some watching to do!

Of course she's entitled to her opinion. Aren't we all? But it's still a rude thing to say.

If the response to rudeness is to say we're all entitled to our opinions, well then rudeness loses all meaning as a concept.

Thanks for liking my accent though wink

lljkk Tue 20-Nov-12 11:10:05

Do y'all remember how much George W. Bush affected(s) a TX accent? He was from Connecticut, ffs, but he knew what the voters liked.

Yes, Bush was the exact same background as his opponents -- northeast, Ivy League, rich family -- but managed to make himself appear to be a completely different person just by taking on that accent.

Can you imagine that in the UK? A politician purposefully taking on, say, a Geordie accent in order to become prime minister?

stopcallingmefrank Tue 20-Nov-12 11:17:51

But GWB did live in Texas, didn't he? Might he be an example of how people's accents change when they live in different places?

I grew up in the US, but have lived in London most of my adult life. My accent has changed from how I sounded when I first came here.

stopcallingmefrank Tue 20-Nov-12 11:21:38

Though if he did deliberately take on the Texas accent, presumably he did that in order to be elected governor of Texas.

RichTeas Tue 20-Nov-12 11:22:41

Which is your accent? Southern?

If the response to everyone is entitled to an opinion is, as long as its not a rude one, then opinions become pretty muted. That's the problem in the USA too many people afraid to speak their minds, for fear of being labelled rude.

Fortunately or unfortunately, not a problem in the UK. wink

lljkk Tue 20-Nov-12 11:23:01

Thatcher had elocution lessons, didn't she? To lose her East Midlands twang, lower her voice, sound less shrill and sound... something, more southern, anyway.

And wasn't Neil Kinnock advised to try to drop his Welsh sound?

RichTeas Tue 20-Nov-12 11:26:58

stopcalling, as it happens we all change or hold our accents "deliberately". it's a question of whether we do it consciously or sub-consciously. accents are central to identity, and we choose the extent we will modify the accent depending on circumstances and value. nothing wrong with GWB if he decides he wants to emphasise his Texan side.

not quite as convinced when Madonna was in her British mode, but then again up to her. we should take it as a compliment.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 20-Nov-12 11:27:59

>Saying people with southern US accents sound uneducated

The only Texan I can bring to my mind's ear is Sheldon Cooper. grin

No my accent is New York. The one she specifically said was 'awful.'

On what planet is that not rude?

And I'm sorry but you can't be serious that people speak their minds in the UK and not in the US. If anything I find people in the UK to be far more tolerant and polite, which of course often comes at the price of not voicing their opinions.

I mean seriously, if I came on here and said the Geordie or Yorkshire accent was 'just awful', no English people would be offended? No one would think that rude, it's just me voicing my opinion? I don't think so.

RichTeas Tue 20-Nov-12 11:34:31

If you siad that, I think most Geordies or Yorkies would think you were jealous!

Nuu Yaaark eh. Lovin' it.

Surely it's Americans who miss out the tt in letter? She's far less likely to do that in Brit speak. DS3 insists on saying diapers and cookies which sends me apoplectic. At least they pronounce the words correctly I guess.

She might even end up saying mirror rather than meer

OMG, there's 9 pages, I missed 8 of them.

steppemum Tue 20-Nov-12 11:40:31

I am with you dreaming.

I am not personally offended (life is too short to take offence over an internoet forum for me) but I came on here last night to say I thought OP was rude, and I stand by that.

She has said that many US accents are awful and make her squirm inside
She has said she wants her daughter to have lessons to stop aquiring an awful UK accent

I genuinely think she has no idea that some of what she said was offensive. And i think she is going to find a lot of things a bit different when she gets here!

Interesting point about UK or US speaking ones mind more. In my (limited experience) I find that here UK we are superficially often polite, but get with friends and they will be much more 'real' And my US friends (although they weren't living in US so may not be representative) tended to be more polite to their friends, and didn't get some of our rude to each other humour, they saw it is hurtful when we would find it funny.

stopcallingmefrank Tue 20-Nov-12 11:40:31

If it's any comfort dreamingbohemian, the OP would probably not like my accent either. But then IMO she is misguided if she thinks she can have any control over the way her dd speaks. I can imagine the teenaged dd speaking estuary/bronx just to wind her mother up.

steppemum Tue 20-Nov-12 11:42:20

actually what I just said was a pile of rubbish, 200 million people across how ever many times zones, how can anyone be a 'typical' American, or a typical Brit grin

Steppe American kids are allowed to use 'gonna' in written work??? Seriously? DS2 would love that. He has finally learned that I will make him rewrite gonna correctly.

ooh wentshopping are you still around? Which communication aid does your dd have? I realised I think of ds1 as having an American accent as his communication aid does. I did change words like jello though.

He says 'lader' for example and not later

Hey thanks step, and stop.

To be clear I'm not distraught or anything grin I'm just more flabbergasted that the OP doesn't see how off her attitude is.

In New York everybody has an accent, it's incredibly diverse, and accents are just seen as normal and not a bad thing. So from my perspective, saying you don't want to have any accent is not just about language but also sort of denying that reality of diversity. It's looking down your nose at a whole segment of society.

That's interesting what you say about US/UK step. It's hard for me to judge because I think us east coasters are an overly expressive lot wink

steppe - I've worked with Americans and Japanese and found the same. On the whole Americans are much politer to their friends than either the Brits or the Japanese, but perhaps more informal in formal situations.

The Japanese were as rude to their friends/real piss takers/wind up merchants. Which was a surprise. But yes you can take the piss in Japan if you know someone well enough. Found American friends were perhaps offended by that.

Yes I think Americans would often find 'taking the piss' situations to be disrespectful.

The whole idea of 'respect' and 'disrespectful' is very important in social relationships (at least where I come from) -- you really really don't want to be disrespectful.

But I think this is related to the fact that American society superficially can be much more rude and aggressive. It's like, I can be walking down the street and get told to fuck off, or have a stranger make fun of what I'm wearing, or any of a million annoying situations. So I don't really want to deal with disrespect from my friends too, if that makes sense? They are supposed to be the people who don't give you aggro. Teasing of course, honesty and some amount of making fun of each other, but there's usually a line.

Hm interesting (although ds1 has been told to fuck off by Brits rather unnecessarily so you can get aggression here as well). I did find I had to think rather more about my interactions with Americans than my interactions with Australians, Kiwis or Japanese (which seemed very British: bring a gift if visiting, get to know someone, then take the piss). Which was a surprise.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 13:41:40

Which New York accent? There are several. Same as there is no homogeneous London accent.
The difference between the Bronx and the upper East Side is as radical as that between South Ken and Catford
The racial differences between accents within lower Manhattan are confusing enough!
Your DD will turn out talking in what ever way gets up your nose the most. Live with it.

When I was young I had a very strong Bronx-type accent. Then I moved around a lot so it gradually got watered down (in part because in some places people said they couldn't understand what I was saying!) When I'm upset or tired or drunk though it comes out again, very strongly.

I love it, I genuinely cannot understand why people have an aversion to it.

mathanxiety Tue 20-Nov-12 14:59:15

The completely different style of personal interaction was one of the big things that hit me when I first went to the US (from Ireland). There was no slagging/piss taking. It was all deadly earnest. I have to say though, I never encountered gratuitous aggression on the street or at work either I have to say. You couldn't go out and about in Dublin without some complete stranger hailing you with their opinion / whatever was on their mind - whether good or bad.

What bothers me most here is the idea of the little girl trying to talk with her mother and being corrected. That gets my goat. It silences children when you do that to them, and it gives them major problems in the self confidence area.

People are entitled to their opinions of how other adults speak, but not how children speak -- leave children out of it, let them speak, listen to what they say, not how they say it.

wentshopping Tue 20-Nov-12 15:23:50

Hello saintly - dd3 has a prentke romich ecopoint 2 - so, yes, it does have an American accent. (A bland electronic one grin) But, as we live in the US and she uses it for all her communication, then it is good that her friends/teachers/therapists are hearing a familiar accent, and we sometimes read the screen to figure out what she is saying. (Background - dd3 has severe cerebral palsy, but not cognitively impaired, so she speaks using an eye-gaze device, much like Stephen Hawking).
Just to add, I have brought dds up to talk as they wish, but have explained the "English" words to them so they slip back into UK-speak when they are with their grandparents. To me this is how to be respectful to the culture you are living in, while maintaining respect for the one your family is from.

Ah ds1 has a vantage lite which I think is from the same manufacturers (although they seem to have replaced the vantage now? perhaps with the accent - although his has more keys than the one I can see). Because his needs to be quick we have a bland voice (the more natural ones have a slight delay between pressing and getting the voice - we need it as fast as possible). Although actually his screen looks more like the eco point on the website. We use Unity on his although it looks as though they're in the process of renaming that as well. He's only had it for a year, but my GOD, what a difference! He loves his talker and is using it very well indeed. He has a lot to say (catching up on 13 years of silence I think).

And I don't care that it's in an american accent - we've waited a long time to hear what he thinks! smile

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 15:38:55

the content is usually more important than the accent ....

wentshopping Tue 20-Nov-12 15:45:29

Oh, absolutely, saintly, I know just to hear our kids say anything is a gift. Fancy moaning about what accent they might pick up. grin
DD3 has worked her way through various devices - a Mercury before this one, which was head switch operated, and we also have a tango for "fun" (- that seems so bizarre, to give a child the means to talk only in certain situations) She also uses Unity - we were told that Unity is the one language (for devices) that has endured while others have come and gone, and while it doesn't seem to make sense when you first see the icons, as soon as you "get it" it is easy. DD3's ecopoint had some problems a while ago, and the guy on the company helpdesk.... was an ecopoint user - how cool is that!
Sorry for hijack OP, but for those of us dealing with real speech difficulties your post appears so frivolous.

Unity appears bonkers at first sight, but ds1 just clicked with it from the beginning. We'd tried things like proloquo2go before but the category stuff just doesn't really do it for him. But unity? I didn't expect the trial to work but from the first introduction he was happy with it. I think because it's fast. I am now often to be found asking him to show me how to say something grin

madwomanintheattic Tue 20-Nov-12 15:50:58

Went, it used to make me laugh that the signing started with singing and nursery rhymes... Because clearly you need Old MacDonald before 'milk please' or 'I need a wee!'


I was a little upset that the op continued the wind up after I mentioned sn earlier, but you can't stop a good joke.

<waits for professionally offended comment>

I'm not, btw. I can see that it would be a good wind up on a Sunday afternoon. And there really are folk that are so precious out there, which is why it works.

wentshopping Tue 20-Nov-12 15:53:05

Yes, me too. Have you got any speech apps on an ipad? I would like something really portable for dd, but she cannot use a touch screen with great accuracy - accurate enough to play a game, but not to say something quickly. Apparently there is something coming out with a frame to fit over the ipad screen to divide up the buttons.

wentshopping Tue 20-Nov-12 15:54:41

Yes mad she didn't rise to my comment about the drive-thru lady understanding when I droppped the "please " from the end of my sentence.

Not at the moment, although they are brining out unity (which ds1 uses) onto the iPad and I will get it to use at the beach etc. I think it's already available in the States and you can buy quite a few different covers.

It's this: http://aacapps.com/lamp/

I think ds1 has access to more symbols from the front screen - need to check, but it looks a good back up

wentshopping Tue 20-Nov-12 15:59:58

yes, saintly, that is what I was thinking about but I think it is v. expensive.

wentshopping Tue 20-Nov-12 16:00:56

eek $299.99 shock

slug Tue 20-Nov-12 16:21:33

The Ki-nig-uts pronouncenation comes from here

stopcallingmefrank Tue 20-Nov-12 18:00:46

I love how this thread has gone from the 5 year old's elocution lessons through George W Bush and Margaret Thatcher to disabled kids' communication devices. The joys of MN!

wigglybeezer Tue 20-Nov-12 18:26:22

I am going to be a bit controversial here and tell you that I managed to get a speech therapist to do some work with DS2 on pronouncing his "th" sounds. She was seeing him because he has Social communication issues but I asked her to do some work on his sounds as he has a wee bit if a lisp and his mispronunciations were affecting his spelling ( still do in fact). She grudgingly agreed but implied that I should accept it as it was the local way of speaking, despite DS2 (as is common with children with S&C issues) otherwise sounding like little lord Fauntleroy as he completely failed to pick up the local Scottish accent.
It didn't work by the way, his brother cals him posh boy and he still says "f" for "th".

Yeah I know. For ds1 I think the price would be worth it as I often panic as he dangles over rock pools with 6 grands worth of communication aid dangling from his neck, but 300 dollars isn't exactly a snip.

BooksandaCuppa Tue 20-Nov-12 22:15:54

Still struggling to imagine how a 'British' person says 'very' without the 'r' in it?

Or how the correct use of the 'th' sound is somehow 'American'? FWIW, I don't know anyone who replaces it with 'f'...

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 22:21:16

"Very" when said in Sloane Square is pronounced "vahy" and "yah" will be later on in the sentence

GrimmaTheNome Tue 20-Nov-12 22:38:18

>FWIW, I don't know anyone who replaces it with 'f'...

lots of children do - free instead of three. It can persist longer than most childish substitutions, into adults even - my DD still does it quite a bit. Its not something she's learned from anyone- not me or DH, not the local (NW)accent.

It does happen 'dahn sarf' in adults too.

Devora Tue 20-Nov-12 22:54:18

This thread has made me so nostalgic for my glottal stop. I used to have a fine one; so fine that the university language lab recorded it for posterity grin

Sadly, I lost it when I got posh. But I did see it as a very fine expression of my South East London cultural heritage. Perhaps if OP's dd acquires one we can organise a swap grin

madwomanintheattic Tue 20-Nov-12 23:02:27

A glottal stop swap! grin

Mn could advertise it on local.


BooksandaCuppa Tue 20-Nov-12 23:17:06

Grimma I meant to say 'any adults' - I genuinely don't but then I'm not 'down south'...Also no glottal stops round here in the middles of words but sometimes at the end...Nigh' for Night etc

Talkin - I get that but somehow assumed OP was referring to a 'lower class' way of dropping 'r's since all the other things she refers to are also considered to be. You know what I mean!

Just seems a bit weird to assume that in moving to another country you would pick up all the differences/deviations from received pronunciation there are regardless of which part of the country/(for want of a better word) class of person they are common in (like me thinking if I moved to America my dc would simultaneous pick up both a Brooklyn and Texan accent?!)

BooksandaCuppa Tue 20-Nov-12 23:19:21

Sorry, Grimma to be more clear, it is of course a common thing to persist in childhood (the 'th' as 'f') but to imply that the whole adult population of a whole country pronounce it as such, unlike the "correct" Americans is just bizarre (OP not you...)

Devora Tue 20-Nov-12 23:19:35

Honestly, madwoman, I sound like the frickin queen. That's got to be worth something.

Pyrrah Thu 22-Nov-12 15:08:29

Devora - that is seriously fantastic! Could you perhaps borrow the recording and practice a bit?

Otherwise I can heartily recommend DD's SE London primary - it's taken her a whole 7 weeks to acquire a superb version. grin

SoldeInvierno Fri 23-Nov-12 09:45:43

I find ways of pronouncing words can slightly vary even from school to school. My son moved schools when he was 7, all within the same town, and within a couple of months he has stopped the glottal stop and other "mispronunciations". Now, when we meet with his friends from his first school, I can really hear the difference.

On the other hand, I am foreign and he has never picked up my pronunciation errors. He can hear them and he makes a very good job at immitating me when he wants to, but he wouldn't speak like that.

So, I think your daughter will pick up the accent from her peers and that's unavoidable. Have you picked a school for her yet? Have you heard the teachers/children talking? If so, that's what your daughter will probably sound like in a year's time.

AbbyR1973 Fri 23-Nov-12 11:44:55

There appear to be 2 issues here. Accent and correct pronunciation.

I am British. I would never drop the t in words like "letter." I agree there are areas of the country where this is quite common. It is a total pet hate of mine so I'm with you on that one. Also I think it can be counterproductive for spelling if words ate not pronounced correctly. DS1 has started school and clearly some children speak with dropped t's. He went through a phase of occasionally doing it himself. I point it out to him and now he doesn't do it. He didn't need Elocution.
As much as children spend time at school they also spend lots of time at home. If during home time there is a lot of conversation and reading aloud of stories by parents, I think this can counteract some of the less desirable language habits picked up from peers.
The "ar" sound in "star" is different. The "ar" sound in phonics is taught as a long "ahh" sound at school. This is not incorrect pronunciation of English and children are taught the graphemes representation of the phoneme is "ar" What you are describing there is accent. It shod have no bearing on spelling- if I ask DS1 (4 years old) how to write an "ahh" sound in a word he would say "ar"
Spelling will presumably be interesting given the alternative spellings in American English colour vs color etc. :-)

AbbyR1973 Fri 23-Nov-12 11:56:25

PS on the "th" front school should actually help a lot. It is very common/normal for young children to pronounce th as f. The vast majority of British adults don't do this. It is tricky to master in early speech. In Jolly phonics the both the hard th as in the and this and soft th as in bath are taught as pretending to be a clown poking a tongue out of the mouth which is the action required to produce a th sound rather than teeth against lips to produce a f.
I think phonics at school will actually address quite a lot of your worries without having to spend a fortune on elocution.
By the way can you even get American English elocution- I would have thought elocution would result in The Queen'sEnglish.

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