Correcting children's grammar

(17 Posts)
MarcelleBabies Wed 12-Sep-12 10:43:30

It really annoys me how some parents insist on correcting their child when they say things like "I ranned". I have a degree in linguistics and child language acquisition, but don't believe anyone needs a degree to realise that this grammar is a natural journey, and what your child's actually done is be very intelligent, because they've recognised that to form a past tense (in the regular sense) you can add -ed on the end of some words.

Does it irritate anyone else to see parents prodding their kids and saying "NO! Its "I ran" ?

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imnotmymum Wed 12-Sep-12 10:46:11

I do not say or prod "No it is x" but just repeat it to them in the correct form. Modelling language/behaviours is not a bad thing IMO but I believe it is the way you do it-positively.

crackcrackcrak Wed 12-Sep-12 10:49:46

I can't help it. I'm paranoid dd will be saying 'I need to go toilet' when she's 41 like her father.
She speaks (at 3) in very long sentences with many conjunctions so it's not as if she can't say it correctly.
She says 'I need to do a wee' (to my delight) my my general anxiety about grammar is due to the above.

ladywithnomanors Wed 12-Sep-12 10:54:09

I correct my children's grammar. It's a natural thing to do do. I agree it's the way it's done that is key.

MarcelleBabies Wed 12-Sep-12 11:01:31

Yes absolutely, it's great to be a good example and model correct grammar. I just sometimes see parents driven round the bend when their child won't say something correctly, and it will naturally come.

Same thing with pronunciation sometimes, too. Like you say, it's not like they don't always know correct way to say something. My son has a friend who says "fis" instead of "fish" and every time he says it, i'll say "oh, is that what your fis said?" and he'll say "no, my fis said!" he knows the right way, he just can't say it yet. It's quite cute.

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TheNewson Wed 12-Sep-12 13:38:54

MarcellaBabies, I do a bit of both.

Mostly, I don't correct their grammar - for all the reasons you stated in your initial post.

I expect it to follow naturally. I'm not overly concerned (they are six).

One of the boys' teachers said she has a "gentle" approach to correcting grammar.

When I do 'correct' the boys (now and then) I adopt a positive approach.


MarcelleBabies Wed 12-Sep-12 13:49:37

Anna, i think that's the best approach to take! Once they get older and they are aware of what is technically 'right' and 'wrong', good grammar should be encouraged. Whilst they're still so young however, it seems counter productive to get angry when they use incorrect tenses etc.

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imnotmymum Wed 12-Sep-12 13:50:25

I am shocked that parents get angry.

onedev Wed 12-Sep-12 13:54:32

I certainly don't get angry but I do correct - especially when they say things like 'you was' (all age 5 & under). So many people use incorrect grammar & that includes on television & on the radio that correct grammar is heard much less often than it used to be. I therefore think it's very important to correct them although agree it should be done positively & certainly not in an angry way.

MarcelleBabies Wed 12-Sep-12 13:56:03

Some genuinely do- they address their child as if they are either completely stupid, or as if they are misbehaving or 'acting up' by saying something which technically takes years of practice to get right.

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Iggly Wed 12-Sep-12 13:56:04

I think it's sad because it discourages a child from speaking without fear of getting it wrong. My DH's parents corrected him and his siblings at every turn and he now wont speak without being absolutely sure of what he means to say. Means he wont say things sometimes which is madness.

Ds is nearly 3 and makes mistakes. I repeat back what he says - even if he says it correctly - so he learns propery but I never correct. For example he says "I need a wee", and I'll say ok you need a wee, you go to the potty then. Or if he says "I tired", I'll say "oh you are tired, poor DS". By doing that, his speech is excellent and is frequently commented on.

Iggly Wed 12-Sep-12 13:57:12

Even positive correction can go wrong - because you're not listening to what they say only how they say it. Plenty of modelling and reading helps IMO.

MarcelleBabies Wed 12-Sep-12 13:57:16

Oh yes, correct grammar in the media and in general is a whole other topic in itself... I certainly agree on that!

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numbertaker Wed 12-Sep-12 13:57:44

I correct but I don't get angry. As a home-educator I feel it is my role to educate them.

I don't think using street slang will get you very far in life.

MarcelleBabies Wed 12-Sep-12 14:03:06

Saying something like "bestest friend" as a 3 year old, isn't the same as using 'street slang'. Loads of people are so terrified that their children are going to grow up speaking in text speak, that they punish their child for saying something they'll grow out of.

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fedupwithdeployment Wed 12-Sep-12 14:22:29

I correct them (5 and 8) and I think it is the right thing to do. They are both happy, articulate and confident. DS1 is a fantastic reader, and DS2 seems to be going the same way. They are happy to be corrected, but not happy if I don't listen to them! Or if they think I am not listening.

MarcelleBabies Wed 12-Sep-12 14:34:44

Iggly i do exactly the same, i think repeating what they've said in that way is so beneficial. Although i am (admittedly) a bit of a prescriptivist when it comes to grammar and language, I just don't see the point intimidating children with constant corrections.

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