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11 year old - Speech driving me mad

(41 Posts)
User45632874 Mon 30-Oct-17 15:54:14

Hi, Just trying to gauge what is usual.

I realise I am posting in teens but DD (age 11) is at secondary school so thought this was the best place.
Minor in the great scheme of things I know but dd's use of language (apart from a noticeable increase in swearing since starting secondary school), is driving me mad!
I'm not perfect myself but DD describes events along the lines of the following:
"Sarah's been on the phone and she is 'like' so lucky to be getting a new dog."
"She rang me up and told me and I 'went' yeah, I'd love one of those too and she went, well ask your mum."
Obviously these are fictitious conversations but each event that dd relays is absolutely full of 'likes' and people 'went' and not said things and this drives me utterly mad. It is lovely that dd talks about her day etc. and I realise this is no mean feat for a pre-teen but I find myself constantly trying to correct her. I read and write a lot and I refer to this type of speaking as slang, though I have heard grown adults speak like this and on television too. DH says most children speak like this nowadays so perhaps I am just behind the times but in my opinion it does not come across well and dd sometimes sounds as if she is gabbling and the likes are perhaps a type of hesitancy. Whichever way, I seem unable to break the cycle. DD is an intelligent girl and attends a very good grammar school and I can't quite understand why she chooses to speak like this - can anyone relate?

EarlessToothlessVagabond Mon 30-Oct-17 15:56:52

Give her a break. It's just her way of fitting in with everyone around her. She'll grow out of it eventually. I used to talk like a character out of Rab C Nesbit when I was growing up (I'm scottish).

annandale Mon 30-Oct-17 16:00:30

Without having assessed your Ddinbych obviously, I think this is normal tbh. It's true that like is a filler - 20 years ago it might have been erm instead. There are always fillers.

The fast rate is a tiny bit more concerning. How is her volume control? If she's not really aware of how she sounds that might indicate more of an issue.

I'd suggest getting her friends round often and listening to their conversation - I bet it sounds similar. Encourage reading aloud if you can, take her to the theatre or watch plays on TV. Is there a debate club at her school?

annandale Mon 30-Oct-17 16:01:08

Ddinbych?? Autocorrect...

kateclarke Mon 30-Oct-17 16:06:37

Please just try and ignore it. She will grow out of it.

My mum constantly corrected me, so I just stopped talking to her.

Trailedanderror Mon 30-Oct-17 16:10:43

Suck it up Buttercup! I showed my irritation at corrected ds's mumbling and he became withdrawn. We're out the other side now but I bitterly regret damaging our relationship.

Jenala Mon 30-Oct-17 16:54:45

I'm 28 and I know I speak like that a bit sometimes blush I think it makes me sound younger so I am aware and try and monitor it, but with my friends and family I don't because I can relax with them.

I probably speak a bit differently at work and manage to be taken seriously in my professional role. It's about context. I wouldn't constantly correct her. She wants to talk to you and you don't want to jeopardise communication with her.

If she has an interview one day or something that would be the time to raise it and talk about the importance of how you speak in different contexts.

Girliefriendlikesflowers Mon 30-Oct-17 16:57:34

My 11yo dd talks like this as well, I think its normal. I correct her on some things for example 'it don't matter' drives me mad, but for all the 'likes' and 'wents' i just grit my teeth and ignore grin

ZucchiniPie Mon 30-Oct-17 17:15:56

My DC are a bit younger so haven't got to this stage yet but I find listening to teenagers (girls, particularly, seem to succumb to this worse than boys) talking on the bus or tube completely excruciating, because of the frequency of the word 'like'. My observation is that it is used roughly every third word, and this - combined with upward intonation at the end of each phrase - just makes them sound (I hate to say it) stupid. I know they're not actually stupid but it absolutely does them a disservice in terms of how they come across.

I have actually started to wonder recently whether the wider societal issue of gender equality appearing to being going backwards at the moment is in some ways behind it - in the sense that girls now feel genuinely less confident about what they have to say and the use of 'like' and the questioning intonation is more than just a verbal tic, and actually speaks to a larger problem about how much girls feel they can't express themselves without constant qualification, or almost apology, as they go along.

In other words, I don't blame teenage girls for talking this way because I think the world's a bloody difficult place to be for them these days. But I think if this linguistic trend could somehow be reversed it would do wonders for girls' confidence to express themselves and be heard!

Sorry for the rant but I'm totally with you, OP

ZucchiniPie Mon 30-Oct-17 17:18:42

Also I realise that I haven't given any useful advice here! Sorry for taking the discussion into an indictment of society grin

Princessdebthe1st Mon 30-Oct-17 17:33:52

Dear OP,
I agree with you. My DD is 11 and I have noticed a bit of a deterioration in her speech but not too much. I recognise that we all speak slightly differently at home/with our friends or at work/school and that is fine. However, I think home is a place you should speak well. The constant use of like, so, etc and my own personal favourite dropping 'to' before every destination (ahhh!!!) does make someone sound like they lack intelligence or anything interesting to say. It may be harsh but people judge you on how you speak and you can do yourself a great disservice by speaking without care. I come from a part of the country where because of the stereotype of the accent people would definitely perceive you (especially young women) as stupid if you spoke like that. I have had honest conversations with my DD about that and explained why I care about how she speaks. It is also true that how people speak affects how they write. Be kind about it, be consistent and take every opportunity to model good speech.

JustHope Mon 30-Oct-17 17:48:06

I agree OP, all DDs friends sound exactly the same every other word is ‘like’ or they use ‘so’ before words e.g. ‘I said to Jane like, we could so go to town on Saturday and it would be like so amazing’

LadyWire Mon 30-Oct-17 18:05:09

I'm 41 and my speech is littered with "like" and "went" too! Language evolves constantly and each generation has its own slang. I can't see why it would be a big deal?

Ttbb Mon 30-Oct-17 18:37:24

She will like totes like grow out of it. But in all seriousness just make sure that it isn't seen as normal speech in your household (ban all tv in teensoeak etc.) without correcting her or being overtly confrontational and she will drop it once the novelty goes.

SongforSal Mon 30-Oct-17 18:43:27

It's normal. My 12 yr old Ds spent yr 7 saying 'what up blood'. Instead of 'hello, mum'.
He's now replaced that with 'Init'.

I ignore. Or if he sounds particularly ridiculous I join in grin

ownedbySWD Mon 30-Oct-17 18:47:32

I don't mind slang speech, though it does make me feel old! I do genuinely struggle to understand my DD when she speaks very quickly andslursallherwordstogether. I can't ignore that, because I won't know anything she's saying!

Dweet1259 Mon 30-Oct-17 18:49:16

I'm 34 and talk like that. And I've got a degree...and a Masters! So I wouldn't worry about her sounding thick grin

User45632874 Mon 30-Oct-17 19:27:20

Thank you for all of your replies. Zucchini, I think you have raised very many valid points in your thread about speaking with confidence and I guess that is my underlying concern - that it does convey a lack of confidence and if so why is dd lacking confidence? She has been quite successful in the past in landing main roles in plays etc. so is definitely not lacking a huge amount of confidence but obviously feels a little less confident now that she is coming into the teenage years (she is still a young 11). I am going to re-read some of these comments and take them on board and think about how I am going to speak to dd without attacking her because I don't want a wedge to arise between us. Thank you once again for all of your replies.

senua Mon 30-Oct-17 19:38:51

Or if he sounds particularly ridiculous I join in

This. Indulge in some ribbing. You are not telling off but you are subtly saying "I have noticed and you sound ridiculous".

User45632874 Mon 30-Oct-17 19:55:53

Yes Senua, I did participate in some ribbing in the early days but it seemed to have little effect and made me sound like a petulant child in the end!

corythatwas Tue 31-Oct-17 08:33:19

To me, it doesn't necessarily indicate a lack of confidence, more a sign that she is branching out and widening her social circle, trying different sociolects. It's not as if she has suddenly lost the ability to speak like the rest of her family; she is just trying something new and perhaps asserting her independence a bit.

As a teen, I used to think my db betrayed a lack of confidence because he adapted his speech and various habits to those of his mates. What I didn't realise at the time was that my own religious adherence to the habits, speech patterns and thoughts of my parents betrayed a far greater lack of confidence on my own part- and one that has been far harder to get rid of! I still feel I have to justify myself to myself every time I do or think or say anything that is different from what my parents do, think or say. Not because they were harsh but because I admired them more than was healthy. If I could go back in time I would tell my teen self to lighten up and try a bit of everything.
Being able to speak two sociolects is a skill- like being able to speak two languages.

timeforabrewnow Tue 31-Oct-17 09:07:55

Pick your battles. I would say that is not one of them. Also, I wouldn't 'make fun' of how she speaks as others have suggested. That's also being critical.

Listen to the content of her speech rather than how it's said. That's so much more important.

ZucchiniPie Tue 31-Oct-17 12:00:27

I didn't mean, by the way, that your DD specifically might lack confidence. This sociolect (I like that word!) is obviously a contagious thing, as happens with all forms of language - and eventually becomes the norm. So in that context, her picking it up is perfectly natural.

My point was a broader one about girls' voices in general - their collective confidence to make statements about how they see the world, rather than always sounding like they're worried they might have got it wrong. That's why it makes me feel a bit sad...

As usual Miriam Margolyes sums it up brilliantly: www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4sGU_eFc40 (relevant bit starts at 0:41 seconds in.)

"It's not 'like'. It IS!!"

ToothTrauma Tue 31-Oct-17 12:06:42

All teens do this. Just keep modelling good speech. As long as she can moderate for different audiences she’ll be fine.

ZucchiniPie Tue 31-Oct-17 12:08:25

All my younger colleagues still do it... (not to quite the extent that teens do, but even so). I realise this is obviously not the bug-bear it is for everyone and of course I would never say anything to them!

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