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To correct my toddler's speech (nicely)

(234 Posts)
glitterjellybean Fri 07-Apr-17 08:49:14

NC for this. I have a dd coming up for 2 years old. She's bright and happy and her vocabulary is coming on in leaps in bounds.

Her df and I see eye to eye on pretty much everything except one thing. Speech.

Bit of background, and as much as I hate labels, dh is very working class (as in he's a total grafter with a common accent) and I'm from an upper middle class family where I was corrected to say the full words and names not abbreviate. If my mum heard me say the word "telly" she'd come back from the dead to tell me off 🙊.

It started off when she was small with my utter refusal to the whole "say taaaaaa!" thing. She now says please and thank you anyway, so it seemed unnecessary for her to learn two ways of saying it.

Now this last week "yes" has turned into "yep" and I keep (gently) saying "no xxx we say yes".

Dh thinks I'm being stuffy but I've never been turned down for a job in my life because I speak (in his words) "posh" and I'd like to give our dc as much of a chance as possible in life.

Dh is constantly getting annoyed because people judge him on his accent and the way he speaks, and we even had an incident in a posh cafe the other week where a patron made a comment loudly about "letting anybody in now". So surely if he's had issues like this he wouldn't want his kids to go through the same.

Lol this is a bit more detailed than I was expecting but as long as I'm doing it kindly and constructively (and not in a way that's demeaning) it's not a bad thing to speak "correctly"?

titianlove Fri 07-Apr-17 08:52:43

I 100% agree that children should speak properly.

I'm from Glasgow and broad accents are common place here. However, I've come to realise that some of the smartest, kindest, friendliest people don't have posh accents.

However, I detect a slight air of superiority from you and that's not an attractive trait. Apologies if that's not the way you are but your post seems to suggest it.

Trifleorbust Fri 07-Apr-17 08:54:44

Tricky one. What sort of lifestyle/area? If you are bringing her up in a way that has more similarity to his working class culture than your middle class culture, then badgering her to speak like you seems like forcing it. If it is the other way round, she will fit in better if she does speak like you.

I would be inclined to teach her the proper words and grammar, but let your DH teach her his way, then see who she is more inclined to imitate. I wouldn't get het up about it.

Trifleorbust Fri 07-Apr-17 08:55:57

Oh and I wouldn't be going back to that cafe.

titianlove Fri 07-Apr-17 08:56:13

And I should add that some of the dullest folk I've met have those "Glasgow university" accents

glitterjellybean Fri 07-Apr-17 08:57:20

Sorry. Totally not intended at all! It's nothing to do with speaking in abbreviations being bad etc but more about the long term prospects of my children. Like sending them to a better Ofsted rated school etc.

Tbh I don't speak half as posh as I used to anyway 😊 and my dh is amazing. I just tease him about him saying "windaaaa" instead of "window" 😋

elQuintoConyo Fri 07-Apr-17 08:57:26


Don't tell your dd off in a 'no, we say XYZ' way, it'll give her a complex. I speak from bitter experience.

Our 5yo ds has started dropping the T in water = wa'uh, don't know why. And we don't correct it. DH and I say water, he'll no doubt copy us as he gets older. Children tend to have the accent of their parents until they get older and have outside influences.

There will always be different types of pronunciation, there is no 'correct' pronunciation, only our attitudes towards it - see 'poshos' and 'working class' etc. RP just happens to be at the top of the food chain at the moment, but it can and will change.

Btw DS also says Hide and Sink and Pinkaboo - both completely wrong but adorable and we won't be changing them any time soon.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Fri 07-Apr-17 09:00:36

Correct away. It's no different to correcting when they can't say something properly, but it comes with age - like hostipal for hospital (my brother did this for years).

If they don't know the correct word, how will they ever learn it?

glitterjellybean Fri 07-Apr-17 09:00:49

Oh trust me @Trifleorbust we won't be. We were on holiday and it was very red trouser territory. I forget sometimes I feel comfortable in places he doesn't.

With our area it's tricky because the city we live in is pretty split. I'm not teaching her full on received pronunciation though, just making sure "th" doesn't become "f" and dropping letters etc.

WorraLiberty Fri 07-Apr-17 09:00:51

Just lately, every time I read the words "NC for this", I think 'oh here we go' and roll my eyes.

My eyes have rolled right out of my head at this one.

<< Pops them back in >>

A total grafter with a common accent


glitterjellybean Fri 07-Apr-17 09:02:13

And I do appreciate she's still learning phonetics etc so a lot of words come of slightly garbled, letters missing but I know this will come as she gets older and her speech improves.

SaneAsABoxOfFrogs Fri 07-Apr-17 09:02:44

I think by saying 'No, we say xxx' you are saying she is doing something wrong, and this will be very confusing for her if she hears your husband/other people speaking that way, maybe to the point she starts telling other kids off that that are incorrect. My son is in speech therapy, and we parrot back the word he is trying to say. Perhaps whenever she says 'yep', just repeat 'yes'. That way she will know the correct word, and when she's older she can choose to say which word is more fitting for the social context. For what it's worth, we never got the whole 'ta' thing either, and my boy now says 'dank you' quite happily.

LickingTheButterKnife Fri 07-Apr-17 09:04:12

I would not try to impose a posh accent BUT I would definitely correct her vocabulary.
My mum would always correct me and I'm forever grateful for that, the way I speak in my mother tongue is one of my prides as I have a rich vocabulary and impeccable grammar (which has been useful for work etc.).

I didn't have a private education and my parents came for working class families but they loved reading and discussing current affairs so I grew up enjoying a good, articulated speech. If someone thinks I'm posh because of the way I speak that's their problem really.

Btw that guy at the cafe was an idiot.

RebootYourEngine Fri 07-Apr-17 09:04:21

I am from the north of scotland. I have quite a strange accent but the way i speak when with family is different to the way i speak when at work.

I was told by a speech therapist that constantly saying to a child 'no its not x its x' is the wrong way to go about it because all your child will hear is no. Speak the way you want and your child will copy you.

LickingTheButterKnife Fri 07-Apr-17 09:04:49

*try not even! Argh!

glitterjellybean Fri 07-Apr-17 09:04:55

@WorraLiberty What else can I say? Working class can be such a loaded phrase with many different connotations. How do I explain that the upbringing that me and dh had was completely different without sounding like an utter tool?

I was always taught to take people as I find them, however many people in society don't. In fact some people read something on the internet and make judgement based on that, would you believe?

Trb17 Fri 07-Apr-17 09:05:06

I do remind my DD that "there's a T in the middle of that" every so often... party, water etc. I think it depends on the social side of things though. At primary I was known as "posh nosh" and picked on because I spoke well but attended a mainly council estate school where the kids took my speech as something that made me different to them. I'd consider this when trying to influence your child either way.

LindyHemming Fri 07-Apr-17 09:05:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Soubriquet Fri 07-Apr-17 09:05:16

I wouldn't correct how you are

Just carry on saying the words properly and she will pick it up


"Dd would you like a snack?"
"Yes? Ok mummy get you a snack"

mrszebrastripe Fri 07-Apr-17 09:07:21

I would model back correct way rather than overtly correct. As an adult you know what a PITA it is when someone is more tuned in to how you are saying something rather than what you are saying. No different for kids.

glitterjellybean Fri 07-Apr-17 09:07:28

Thanks everybody. It's definitely more of a case of saying words properly rather than "posh". I'll definitely be adjusting what I do and just repeating the word back to dd rather than saying "no....". smile

Chippednailvarnishing Fri 07-Apr-17 09:10:21

Worra grin

I think anyone who name changes and then goes on to describe themselves as coming from an "upper middle class family" is more likely to be coming out from under the bridge they dwell under.
You sound positively​ ridiculous and I'm saying that as someone who corrects their DCs speech.

CurlsandCurves Fri 07-Apr-17 09:14:43

So is it the accent or her vocab you are wanting to correct?

Don't get me started on dropping the letter t. I am constantly saying to my 2 'it's a wa-t-er bo-tt-le! Not a wa-er bo-le!'

Accents are a funny thing. DH can have a really broad accent, specially if he's out with his mates or with family. But in a working environment he kind of takes the edge off it, if that makes sense. I don't think it's a conscious thing either, he just does it. If I'm in a business environment I find my accent goes more neutral.

MyOtherNameIsTaken Fri 07-Apr-17 09:15:23

Wait until she goes to school and see how her language changes. grin

glitteryjellybean Fri 07-Apr-17 09:15:35

@Chippednailvarnishing trust me I'm not a troll! I'm a regular poster but it's a bit of a
bone of contention in my life. If I described the difference in our backgrounds in more detailed terms to give the correct context, it would be very revealing. I know my sister uses this site as do many friends and family.

What am I meant to our "I'm a bit posher than my husband?" ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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