Advanced search

Do you think state schools should do more to improve clarity of speech

(91 Posts)
ReallyTired Fri 01-Aug-08 11:24:05

My son goes to a very rough state school where 30% of the kids are eligible for free school dinners. He is getting a good education, but developing a most atticous accent.

As the children are taught to read and write by synthetic phonics, you can see that the way they talk spills over into their writing. The spelling is perfect esturary. In someways it would be easier for them to learn to spell if they at least knew what standard English was even if they chose not to use it in their daily lives. Ie. They become quasi bilingual.

Would it help these kids if they had elecution lessons so that they would know how words are pronouced in standard English. Or would it be wrong to see regional accents as less good English.

Would it help the really bright kids when they are older and complete for uni places and job interview with the privately educated kids.

moondog Fri 01-Aug-08 11:29:29

Synthetic phonics will have no bearings on thier accents (I'm a salt) but you have a good point.

PrimulaVeris Fri 01-Aug-08 11:36:57

I'm really uncomfortable with the idea that everyone should speak "BBC English".

It's also usually used in connection with 'Estuary' English too. I think that if you live near the Thames estuary (guessing here!) then it is perfectly reasonably to expect people to speak Estuary english ....

Jojay Fri 01-Aug-08 11:40:33

I don't think that everyone should talk 'BBC English ' either, and regional accents are perfectly acceptable.

Children should not be writing this way though, and schools should be teaching correct spelling and grammar.

<double checks post for spelling mistakes>

edam Fri 01-Aug-08 11:42:14

I know it is old-fashioned, but I do think children should be helped to moderate strong accents, so they can choose to use their own dialect at home or among their friends but go with more standard English for dealing with officialdom or with people who are not from the same place.

And definitely taught to spell in standard English, not in dialect. Kids at one school I went to in Yorkshire spoke in VERY broad accents but had no problems at all using the correct spellings.

Cammelia Fri 01-Aug-08 11:43:10

Reallytired I think this way of thinking has long gone (officially) and I'm sure its considered to be completely non-pc (officially)

At dd's school they do ESB (English Speaking Board) exams every couple of years and also get entered into local Arts Festivals for choral speaking and Poetry reciting (dd is at private school but there are lots of state school which do this stuff too)

Its not so much about accents but they do have to speak clearly and pronounce the words correctly

Blu Fri 01-Aug-08 11:44:37

Pronounciation in RP offers little help in many English spellings, anyway.

All accents display themselves in 'emergent writing' - my friend is a teacher in Newcastle and swears she once had a word spelt YRNTN: - 'Wire-netting'. 'y' 'R' 'nettn'.

Blu Fri 01-Aug-08 11:46:34

I think schools - that's all schools - should, and presumably do, correct bad colloquial habits when they appear in written work - 'should of', etc etc.

RedHead81 Fri 01-Aug-08 11:53:37

To improve the clarity of speech in children, you first need to improve the clarity of speech in teachers. It does annoy me that I try to speak properly in front of my children and it gets undone in nursery. I live in Wales and for example Road, is pronounced Roared - post is porst, Bad is bard, bag is barg - us welsh seem to put "R's" in when they aren't needed. Another which i had to stop my DH from saying was "Loose it go" meaning "Let go".

And you may all disagree with me on my next point - a horse is a horse NOT a gee gee! A cat is a cat not a miaw, "Where's the woof woof?" NOOOOOO!!!! Its a bloody DOG not a woof woof - However do we expect our children to learn, when they will have to be re-taught everything???? My auntie is one for using "baby talk" to my 3yr old - he hasn't a clue of what she's talking about and I'm sure he thinks she is talking a different language, or from another planet!

Here endeth my rant!!!!!! lol

PrimulaVeris Fri 01-Aug-08 11:53:48

I come from a rural area and had an extremely strong local accent which only became 'moderated' once I left home and went to university - where I met other students from all over the country with a fantastic range of accents. We were all able to understand each other!

Never any problem with spelling or knowing what RP SHOULD be.

My own dc's have very 'stateless' accent and in a way I think it's rather sad.

PrimulaVeris Fri 01-Aug-08 11:55:27

Oh yes 'should of' is a crime against humanity.

Speaking with an Estuary/Geordie/Scouse accent is not.

ReallyTired Fri 01-Aug-08 11:56:36

Regional accents shouldn't matter, but speaking in really broad esturary can be hindenerence. How many famous MPs, film stars, TV presenters, doctors, teachers speak with a really broad and impentratable accent.

If people do not understand what you are saying they are not going to employ you. Its harder to get people to listen to you in life is they are struggling to understand you. Its a tough world.

I think that moderating a really thick regional accent would help with social mobiltiy. It would allow bright working class kids to compete for the top jobs.

Its not making every one speak with BBC approved punctuation. Its clarity of speech.

Jojay Fri 01-Aug-08 11:57:56

REdhead - totally agree with your point about 'babytalk'.

My friend has a 2 year old daughter who still has a bottle, and she says to her things like,
'Are you ready for your bot-bot now?' and other such nonsense. Makes me cringe!!!

Needless to say the daughter calls her bottle a 'bot-bot' too!!

Blu Fri 01-Aug-08 11:58:13

Oh, goodness, yes, let's stamp out regional accents! Under Milk Wood, Ulysees and Ted Hughes' poetry will all sound much better without the rythms of any region or accent. And Lady Chatterley's Lover would be so much more sensible if Mellors spoke a nicely edited polite English...


OrmIrian Fri 01-Aug-08 11:58:36

Teachers should speak clearly and in good English. That would be an excellent start.
Don't mind about accents though not convinced that 'estuary' English is an accent as such, just an affectation and lazy speech hmm.

RP not neccessary though.

Blu Fri 01-Aug-08 12:00:14

People naturally adjust their accents when speaking in more general contexts.
They just do.
My Nottingham accent only comes into it's own when I am with my old Nott'n'um friends.

PrimulaVeris Fri 01-Aug-08 12:03:24

Hmm. Has Gordon Brown's accent hindered him getting the top job then?!!!

(yes I know he's doing a bit of a crap job, but that's not the point)

Michael Parkinson, Alan Bennett ...

OrmIrian Fri 01-Aug-08 12:06:29

I think most people know to moderate their accents at certain times. Both my eldest 2 have quite noticeable local accents when with their friends. But speak in more or less RP when with adults - with the odd SOmerset butt still grin. I think accents can be used like camouflage.

RedHead81 Fri 01-Aug-08 12:07:57

Jojay - LOL at Bot Bot - My auntie used to call it a Boc Boc for her children too! Strange woman! lol
Try do decipher this:
"Ello wubbly boy! You go come a see u annie wannie aday???"

OrmIrian Fri 01-Aug-08 12:09:55

Sorry....that should read 'burr' not butt. I know of quite a few odd Somerset butts.... but then again I do prefer my children to say 'arse' or 'bottom' grin

RedHead81 Fri 01-Aug-08 12:17:06

"Ello wubbly boy! You go come a see u annie wannie aday???"


Hello Lovely Boy - Are you coming to see your Auntie Jan today?

Another thing we are trying to erase from my 3yr olds vocabulary is Bu-er (sorry can't even write that - its butter without the "T's") and War-ur (water) - drives me to insanity and beyond!

singersgirl Fri 01-Aug-08 12:17:33

But surely Gordon Brown demonstrates what the OP is talking about. He doesn't have a 'broad, impenetrable' accent. He has an accent that would be comprehensible anywhere in Britain.

I don't see where anyone on this thread has suggested that we should stamp out regional accents.

DH is from Plymouth and he speaks pretty much standard English, except for when he goes back to Devon, when he speaks Janner.

ReallyTired Fri 01-Aug-08 12:20:36

Everyone has an accent. Gordon Brown has a scottish accent, but its still possible to understand what he is saying.

Imagine if he sounded like Rab C Nesbitt. Do you think he would have a top job? Imagine Rag C Nesbitt going to an interview at top Oxbridge College.

There is a difference between clear English and stamping out all accents. I think schools should help children to learn to speak clearly, but be proud of themselves at the same time.

bamboostalks Fri 01-Aug-08 12:24:44

I think most teachers do speak clearly and with good English already, your post implies that they do not.

bamboostalks Fri 01-Aug-08 12:25:41

Sorry. That was drected to OrmIrian.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: