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Is it OK to ask a potential childminder what language(s) they speak at home?

24 replies

CarrieG · 26/11/2004 20:22

Just spoke on the phone to a lady who sounds ideal (got list of numbers from the LEA).

She'd be looking after ds (from 6 months) & her own 1 year old daughter.

She had what I think was a Pakistani accent (mind you I can't tell Scouse from Geordie! ) & something about her phrasing suggested that English wasn't her first language - although she spoke perfectly OK English.

When I go to see her, is it OK to ask what language(s) she'd be speaking whilst ds is in her care? I know it's hardly going to matter to ds atm, but I'm hoping for an arrangement that might last till he starts school.

I would be delighted for him to be exposed to another language btw - it's not that I'd have a problem with him picking up some Urdu or whatever! Just wondering if it's a question that it's appropriate to ask, or if it might cause misunderstanding...

OP posts:

Caligula · 26/11/2004 20:31

I would have thought that it's a perfectly reasonable question to ask. She's probably asked it all the time if she has a slight accent and childminds, and you're probably more sensitive about it than she is. I wouldn't worry, she's very unlikely to be offended.


CarrieG · 26/11/2004 20:38

Thanks Caligula.

Unfortunately after speaking to this lady, I was then rung by a friend for a chat, & friend (who has some disgraceful views which I do NOT share) said 'oooh, you don't want him coming home speaking like a '

Which left me feeling slightly paranoid that by asking I might also come across as a racist idiot...

OP posts:

cardigan · 26/11/2004 20:41

Could say that you are happy what ever language is used - just ask what langauges she speaks at home & also what langs her dd uses. You could even have a go leanring abit of it as well. What a great opportunity for your ds.


MarsLady · 26/11/2004 20:43

my niece went to an asian childminder and my niece ended up speaking fluent gujarati (sp). Sadly that stopped when she stopped needing her childminder. I think that it is fine to ask.


Caligula · 26/11/2004 20:49

I'd rather my child came home speaking Gujerati than Estuary English! Call me a snob, but if I hear water pronounced with a glottle stop in the middle one more time this week, I'll scream!


CarrieG · 26/11/2004 20:50

Not much chance of Estuary English oop 'ere!

Thanks ladies, I feel v reassured now!

OP posts:

MarsLady · 26/11/2004 21:04

best not let you near dd2 then. She seems to think that it's a great joke to pronounce water badly. I would strangle her, but apparently that's a crime.


mammya · 26/11/2004 21:19

Marslady, snap! I feel the same about my dd who does the same as yours. She even does the glottal stop in French! I've explained to her that if she speaks like that in France people will just not understand her but it doesn't stop her!


mammya · 26/11/2004 21:21

By the way my dd is learning gujarati from her childminder. Wonder if she tries the glottal stop in that language too?


horrified · 27/11/2004 12:12

I am so angry with this because if you do not want your children to be exposed to common people
stay at home and look after your own children
And then because you do not want them to be exposed to water spoken incorrectly Home Educate them as well so they won't be exposed to ordinary children.
I hope you do not allow TV in your house either because they might pick up accents from there as well


misdee · 27/11/2004 12:17

what does glottel stop mean?

think it would be a good chance for your son to learn a new language.

btw my dd1 sounds comman as muck. keep telling her water has a t in it, later butter, etc etc.

think i was the same as her age.


horrified · 27/11/2004 12:35

It means as far as I know sort of talking without pronouncing all the letters like the t in water, or the h in harrow, hereford and hampshire.
Talking like liza dolittle in the film IIRC.


misdee · 27/11/2004 12:38

so the fact dd1 says 'erts, instead of herts.........

think its a stage most kids go thro isnt it?


horrified · 27/11/2004 12:46

The aditude that a childminder/nanny/au pair/nursery should not have a common accent in case they inflict it onto parents DD/DS. Gets me so angry
Why not stay at home anfd look after them yourself? Then home educate?


misdee · 27/11/2004 12:48

i think it was said tongue in cheek horrified.


MarsLady · 27/11/2004 13:01

horrified, my children are all home with me or at school. I have no problem with the kids being exposed to other accents. My daughter's waeeeeeeeeeeer is not picked up from anyone, just her having a laugh. Sweetie it's honestly not that important. btw if my children were to pick up local accents they would say things like "that's veeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrraaaay naice". I think that we are all laughing here, not having a go.


Twiglett · 27/11/2004 13:06

Misdee .. yes it seems to be a stage .. DS did it for a month or two (dropping the middle 't' in words) .. drove me mad TBH because neither DH nor I speak like that .. he came through the other side though and his pronunciation is more similar to ours

Carrie .. I would ask .. but would also be grateful for my child to be exposed to other languages at an early age as I read some research that said it does something to brain pathways that makes it easier for them to learn foreign languages later on .. I think that's right .. wonder if I can find the report .. will have a look


beansontoast · 27/11/2004 14:14

i can see what you mean,its an important question..and the answer will mean something to you so i wouldnt say ''i dont mind which language you use''

having just chosen a childminder myself i wish i had been more direct with my questions .i was so relieved to find someone who i thought fitted the bill i skimped on the questions and sort of regret it now.
whilst your baby is still a baby though, someone who is going to spend time talking ,singing and playing with him is great whatever their language.
hope that wasnt a lecture


Caligula · 27/11/2004 14:58

Oh horrified lighten up. Glottal stops in water get on my nerves when DS does it, but I know it's a consequence of him going to school and meeting lots of other kids and experimenting with different accents and I don't take it too seriously.

I don't think anyone expects childminders or anyone else (even teachers) to talk like Penelope Keith, but I don't have to enjoy the sound of glottal stops anymore than someone else has to enjoy the sound of Jemima talking like she's got a plum in her mouth. We all have our personal preferences - and mine is not for glottal stops in water!


Caligula · 27/11/2004 14:59

Actually, not too keen on very plummy Jemima accents either - but perhaps I'm just fussy!


jampot · 27/11/2004 15:01

I dont think it would be terrible to ask her what other language she speaks CarrieG, and if you would like your ds to be exposed to a different language I would be inclined to tell her that too. She's bound to have words that she uses in everyday use that stem from her other language. My FIL calls my ds "pilloo" (sp?) which apparently means little worm in Urdu - please any Urdu speaking mums can you confirm in case he's calling him something else ?

I too dont mind my children hearing different accents (better or worse than theirs) but I do like them to speak properly and that includes pronouncing "t" in water, later etc.


misdee · 27/11/2004 15:05

my dd has some scottish words/pronouncitaions, which i find strange but dd's grandma is scottish and they spend time there so its to be expected. just wish i could remember them.


mammya · 28/11/2004 22:03

horrified, what makes you think I'm not common and ordinary?


ernest · 29/11/2004 09:53

horrified, I can think of better things to be horrified about, blimey. chill out. i s no one allowed a joke?? anyway, why do you think estury english is the only common accent?

For what it's worth, I can't stand estury "English" either. Unfortunately, although I've followed your suggestion, horrified, (I'm the one that's with my 3 darling angels all day every day), they somehow have ended up speaking bloody awful estury english (daddy is a southener) & every time they ask me for some pie-'er (paper) I want to scream &/or throw up! How has this happened???????

oh, and to answer you Q carrieg, I don't see the problem in asking either

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