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Pronunciation getting worse

(19 Posts)
Nmd Sun 06-May-01 10:04:18

Does anyone have any suggestions on getting my nearly 3 year old to revert to correct pronunciation? She started speaking pretty early and extremely clearly, and is about 9 months ahead of her peers in vocabulary, grammar, sentences etc. I vaguely think it started with making up silly voices before Christmas, which was fun, but gradually progressed to a full time west country accent (and I'm pretty sure she's never met anyone with that accent), then when I started to gently correct it about a week ago it's now turned into dropping all her ts - again, I don't think she knows anyone who speaks like that. I'm concerned it will become such a habit that she won't go back to the correct version. Also her 15 month old sister is picking it up.

Janh Wed 09-May-01 19:51:21

you could try not answering her until she says it properly? my 8-yr-old has taken to doing the aussie going-up-at-the-end-of-the-sentence? which does my HEAD in!!! so i either ignore him or repeat it in the same manner which reminds him...
with a younger child i suppose it might be a bit harsh. she's probably just trying them all on for size. dropping t's is extremely annoying - i have a 16-yr-old who has recently started doing that! and again i repeat it at her and she will usually say it properly...
have you tried doing it back?

Nmd Mon 14-May-01 08:05:11

Thank you - will see how it goes...

Rhiannon Mon 14-May-01 21:16:32

You could try a bit of what's called Positive Parenting. You talk about your own feelings ie "When you talk like that Mummy feels sad as you have such a lovely voice" etc etc. You have to talk about how you feel not how she is being naughty because she uses the voices.

P.S My niece spoke with an American accent for a few years! Thought she was Annie - she's got red curly hair and she was hooked on the film!

Janh Tue 15-May-01 08:51:44

tricky concept for a nearly 3-yr-old, rhiannon - it's the same voice all the time - does she really understand what an accent is? i think demonstrating the difference would be quite important - although of course she might love it if her mum started talking the same way...
i had a similar problem on and off for years when my teenagers were small - in lancs (where we live) one of the local anomalies is saying "you don't want to do that, do you not?" (and similar double negatives). it used to pop up at intervals and was very hard to shift because they can't hear the double negative - if it was "you don't want to do that don't you?" it would clearly be silly but because of the inversion it isn't to them..anyway after i started beating them when they did it they soon stopped! (JOKE!)

Jbr Tue 15-May-01 17:56:54

I have studied language at university and all languages and accents are the same; there isn't a "proper" way to talk, unless we are getting into actual speech difficulties eg stammer.

The thing about the double negative is a myth. "I never" means the same as "I didn't never". The concept of "standard English" is a myth as well.

Janh Tue 15-May-01 20:49:50

might be a myth but the way kids talk matters to their parents!

Janh Wed 16-May-01 14:02:35

jbr - my 16-yr-old daughter, about to stand down for gcses, capable of speaking perfectly "properly", just replied to the question "did you have your last lesson in anything today?" with "biology and that were it". her broad-lancs speaking boyfriend was present, need i add.
did you really mean all languages are the same? why can't i understand chinese?

Jbr Wed 16-May-01 17:42:49

I meant they are equal,one isn't better than another. So called standard English (ie dominant dialect) isn't the "proper" way to speak, it is just constructed as such.

Janh Wed 16-May-01 20:12:16

jbr, do you really not care how your kids speak?

Jbr Wed 16-May-01 21:20:56

As long as he doesn't have a medical problem, no I don't. He actually has a mixture of accents, my NE accent and his dad's cockney accent. Neither is better than the other. As long as he is actually making proper sentences ie they make sense then that is fine.

We should have more regional accents on TV as well, especially reading the news!

Sml Thu 17-May-01 08:11:15

I know I've benefited from having a BBC accent, so I want my children to have the same, although I agree in principle with Jbr. The only accent I hate is the "posh" Surrey type!
Surely "I never" is equivalent to "I didn't ever" not "I didn't never"? I must admit I am always after my daughter not to say double negatives (eg "I haven't done nothing"), simply because it sounds so sloppy, and the reality of life in the UK is that successful people tend not to use double negatives.

Nmd Thu 17-May-01 08:16:20

To get my question in perspective, I'm not trying to get my children to speak with any particular accent or dialect, I just want to get my crystal-clear-speaking, perfectly understandable child back, instead of having people who haven't seen her for a while comment on her speech changes. At least your child has a logical mix of both parents' accents - what my child has developed isn't anything to do with the way we speak.

Janh Thu 17-May-01 08:40:20

nmd - sorry, i've just gone off at a tangent! how are you getting on with her west country/glottal stops??? (maybe she's been listening to tony blair being one of the people...)

i feel that while "standard" english may not be "the proper way to speak", i agree with sml that, in general, "bbc" english can get you along further and more quickly in many areas. i have nothing against accents either, my husband and all my kids have lancashire accents , but sloppy speech drives me wild - sorry, it may seem trivial to some people! (have to say i didn't never know that double negatives are a myth...)

Nmd Thu 17-May-01 12:42:34

Sorry janh - I should have said I was responding to jbr saying all accents are the same, and there's no 'proper' way to talk. And when/if my daughter starts using the mythical double negatives I'll be doing my best to stop her!!

Tigermoth Thu 17-May-01 13:05:34

My grandmother, a servant in the fens, took herself off to elocution lesons to learn how to talk 'properly'. This became a family tradition with my mother and I both attending elocution lessons as children.

Even as a child I was very aware that people had preconceptions (good and bad) about me because of the way I talked - not 'posh' but accentless if there is such a thing.

However I'm breaking with tradition and I am letting my son pick up a London accent. It seems to me that grammar, clarity and politeness are more important.

However I fear that if my son attended school in Cambridge, my old home town, his slight accent would label him to many people as 'rough'. Sorry Cambridge people - but whenever I go back I am immediately struck by how many 'proper' accents you hear, and I know from my own experience that to many people there, a 'proper' accent immediately equals education and intelligence. One reason why I left.

Bloss Thu 17-May-01 18:29:00

Message withdrawn

Jbr Thu 17-May-01 19:37:53

Written word is different, for the sake of common understanding, but people should know the difference between what you say and what you write. I might say "I diven't know" meaning "I don't know" but I wouldn't write it, well except now of course! And I wouldnt' say it to someone who didn't understand my accent. However most people my age (25) don't understand old fashioned Geordie, that really is like a different language. You shouldn't write in the vernacular, although some authors do for a particular effect.

Oh, we've opened a right can of worms now!

Ailsa Mon 28-May-01 23:31:54

I realise this discussion is getting old, but, jbr, shouldn't it be 'I diven't naa'!!

I was (and still am) proud of the geordie accent, born and bred Newcastle, moved about a bit up there before moving to Worcester. Having been 'down here' for best part of 11 years, I now sound 'posh' according to my sister who still lives up there, but, that is mainly because I've had to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n when talking because no one could understand me and it's become natural to talk a bit slower.

My husband would disagree, he thinks I never had an accent, but that's just because it was never really really broad (Just for you Ian incase you're reading).

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