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English pronunciation

(9 Posts)
Cat2408 Sun 18-Oct-09 14:08:47

Hi everyone, have discovered this brilliant topic while trying to check out when does a baby pronunciation become an issue.
Have just noticed that my totally bilingual daughter can not pronounce 'th' or 'r' still. She is in Grande Section, in France and was born here. My concern is that it is a common problem for French people speaking English,not just a common baby error but at 5, shouldn't she have got the hang of pronouncing them correctly. I don't want to worry unnecessarily but don't want it to be something we ignore till it is too late.

Her teacher assures me that her French language skills are on a par with all the other children in the class, indeed even to the extent that she has a very broad local accent! She is very well spoken in English as we have always spoken to her the same as we would an adult and she has no contemporary English speaking friends, so not sure if she will grow out of this or do we need to try and get it sorted and if so, how.

Cheers to anyone who can let me know if this is within the normal range or not.

cory Sun 18-Oct-09 17:56:09

I used to worry tremendously about ds's Swedish pronunciation until I went back to Sweden and found that his monolingual Swedish cousins weren't so hot on pronunciation either. In fact, it was the r's causing problems for both of them. Ds learnt them around the age of 7 or 8: his cousin who is 8 still can't do them terribly well.

I think when we are the parent trying to maintain the minority language, we judge them against an adult standard= ourselves.

SophiePloeg Sun 18-Oct-09 19:05:02

My nearly 5 year old is being brought up in the UK and speaks nearly solely English (sniff, workign on the bilungual thing) and struggles to say the 'th', like in 'teeth'. So don't worry, even 'single-lingual' kids won't manage it for a while.

mamaloco Mon 19-Oct-09 09:48:50

My nearly 5 DD is raised in romania, her main language is english and my language is French. Her prononciation is good in romanian (school language) and quite good in english.
She does struggle in french with the CH, R (prononces it Y) which makes her difficult to understand in french, she just got the french U right because of her german lessons. She won't listen to me if I correct her but will listen to a teacher shock. They had a ortophonist (spelling?) at school and he didn't seem worried about her more than any of the monolingual romanian kids.
Saying that did read somewhere that if a child has a problem it is better to get it sorted sooner.
May be you could try to get her in a singing class (they do try to get the prononciation right) or an get a teacher/some body else than you to speack english with her, so they can correct her?
If you are really worried you can check with an orthophonist, but I think she is probably set for french (school language always becomes dominant) hence her problems with the english TH and R (can she do the french R yet?)

BriocheDoree Mon 19-Oct-09 14:16:51

I seem to remember that it's as late as age 7 that you start to worry about kids who can't pronounce "th". It's a pretty difficult sound to make, after all! DD is also in GS in France and has only just started to pronounce "Th" correct in "thank you" and still pronounces "little" as "lickle" when she's not concentrating.

Bucharest Mon 19-Oct-09 14:22:26

It's a problem for some native speakers (see hoooooooge thread about teacher who says "anyfink") It's nothing to do with bilingualism, although of course, the /th/ sound is difficult for some non-native speakers too.
The English /r/ and the French /r/ are about as far apart as a "r" can be while still being the same letter, so maybe your dd has problems because she hears it much more frequently in French than in English?
What exactly are her problems with these sounds?

Cat2408 Tue 20-Oct-09 12:57:54

Thanks for all the replies, maybe I am worrying a bit too much but when you don't have anything to compare it to, its difficult.
With the 'th' she says 'f' and instead of 'r' she says 'w' as in 'wabbit'. She has no problems whatsoever with a french 'r' - to the extent that she corrects me, even though my french is pretty good overall.
She doesn't get to hear much English outside home to be honest, we have some English speaking friends but not many locally.
Should I give it another year and see if there is some improvement then? I think the singing's a good idea but unfortunately she is not much of a 'joiner', prefers to do everything 'toute seul' (alone, for those who don't speak french)!
I need to get the 'th' sorted as our family name begins with 'th' lol!

MmeLindt Thu 22-Oct-09 16:38:15

My DD is 7yo and has just recently started pronouncing 'th' correctly, and still sometimes has to be reminded. She was also not pronouncing 'ch' (as in church).

She had some sessions with a SALT when we still lived in Germany and we did the exercises with her for a while. Things like saying "choo chooo chooo train. ch ch ch"

Tbh, I don't think that it was necessary. Our paediatrician pushed for the speech therapy, DD's kindergarten teacher was surprised and said that she would likely grow out of it.

We are now in French speaking Switzerland and she speaks more English here as we have other expat friends. That has really helped her language skills.

Could you find out if there are any English speaking families nearby?

Cat2408 Fri 23-Oct-09 13:26:30

Thanks, for the reassurance. I am about to start teaching her to read in English, so hopefully, that will help things along.

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