Monday, January 28, 2008


It seems the baby is 'helping' with my blog posts this evening, having discovered the keyboard and mouse!

The thing I wanted to blog about though is pronunciation. I wonder to what extent people correct their children when words and sounds are repeatedly pronounced 'incorrectly'.

We've got a situation here where Gs and hard C sounds are being pronounced as Ds and Ts and this is leading to confusion about spelling too. But correction is apparently unwelcome, so I've been waiting in the hope the problem would resolve itself, whilst wondering if there was another way of dealing with it.

Suggestions welcome.


Blogger Merry said...

I've seen a lot of children just outgrow it speechwise and to be honest, with my kids, seeing the words was what brought much of it to rights, particularly with th- though when it got to the point of laziness i did get stroppy. But they are 9 and 7.

We obviously went through a long period of this with Fran and were always told "don't correct, just re-enforce" - as in "i want a gottle of milk...." "okay, you want a bottle of milk do you?" As various readers of your blogs know, this did eventually work! She never got stroppy about it either, we just let her find her way through.

11:11 pm, January 28, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

Thanks Merry. Yes, I'm hoping she'll outgrow it, but when she was trying to convince me that clock was spelled with a T the other day, I did start to wonder!

I'm just a bit worried about causing a stutter or something if I push it too much, or of causing her to start thinking of different words to say what she means and thereby stemming the flow of communication, because although she can use the back of her tongue to say G and C properly if she tries very hard, she so not in the habit of doing so that it's obviously very difficult.

I think she's going to be forced to agree, eventually, that clock actually does begin with that letter and not the one she prefers to say!

11:37 pm, January 28, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

Someone's asked me if the baby managed to delete my post about EO! LOL, no, I deleted that because it seems my genuine concern was being misconstrued as malicious mischief. As if anyone would make sport out of a subject like that!

One thing I will say though, is that the more you try to shut people up, the bigger the disaster in the end IMO, and it will please nobody. But I will have no part in it.

What the baby did was to keep hitting 'publish' when I was writing this post, so that I had to keep deleting them! Poor baby, getting the blame for things she didn't do!

6:05 am, January 29, 2008  
Blogger these boots said...

John Holt says some good stuff about this in How Children Learn. Trying hard to remember but basically I think he starts off in the original text by doing the reinforcing thing (like Merry says) but in his later notes (I have his annotated version of the original book) saying that he wishes he'd never done this as children can recognise a false note miles off, and anyway they usually make an effort to put it right themselves later on once they realise the rest of the family doesn't talk like that.

With Molly, Adan sat her down and sang songs with her to learn her 'l's. It worked like a charm.

8:31 am, January 29, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

Songs - I haven't tried doing it that way. Thanks Lucy! Will read Holt again too - I think we've got that book downstairs and it's years since I read it. Have forgotten most of what he said now.

8:41 am, January 29, 2008  
Blogger Mister Bee said...

when my now 5 yr old was first begiining to speak she would mix up F for S, causing alarm and consternation when she told everyone about her 'stuck' DVD. She grew out of it very quickly through observation and self-adjustment.

my 3 yr old refers to a 'clock' as a 'tick-tock' which does indeed begin with T.

They do grow out of these things remarkably quickly and I miss the baby accent and the little words and phrases they used before they could pronounce things 'accurately'. Now I get corrected for talking about 'fractors' (tractor) and 'not-cats' (dogs).


9:17 am, January 29, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL K, that's funny about the DVDs! And tick-tock for clock is very sweet :-)

We still had lellow here until recently, when a bigger sister determinedly corrected it to yellow. I must say, I'm missing it already!

9:27 am, January 29, 2008  
Blogger Allie said...

Both our kids were slow to say L - they used Y instead. With poor P, as she was our first and we were clueless, we accepted a referral to the speech therapist when she was only five. The therapist opened her enormous mouth and demonstrated and P just said it right - first time! I realise now that she was probably just about to correct it herself. Leo did correct it - some time between five and six.

11:39 am, January 29, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

Oh that's reassuring, thanks Allie. I think I might plan to start worrying again about Lyddie when she's nearer 7 then, if she still hasn't sorted it out herself. Some of her older siblings had speech issues, but they were mostly grown out of by about 3-4.

11:45 am, January 29, 2008  
Blogger Mister Bee said...

Holt likens children learning to speak their native tongue as to an adult learning a to speak a foreign language.

He goes on to say that A little bit of help at the right time and when asked for may be appreciated but if someone jumps in and corrects you every time you open your mouth to say something in your new language pretty soon you don't bother saying anything. At first some of the sounds are difficult and you lack the physical skills (think of some of the sounds in Spanish, German, Welsh or Dutch for instance) and you speak the new language with your old accent but as you gain in skill and confidence, gradually the accent disappears and you become more fluent.

Interesting discussion.


1:45 pm, January 29, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

Oh right, yes that's very insightful, thanks! I'll remember it.

2:07 pm, January 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we've often dealt with it playfully (with appreciation and carefully, I suppose, so that our kids have entered into the fun, rather than felt laughed at). It may be accepted because our extended family has a long history of collected isms ... to which Freya added most proudly many, many favourites like the 'dashdow' which is the permanent name for camper vans in our family now... (it just took 5 attempts at permanent to get all the e's and a's in an order my spell checker was happy with!) My brother Richard (now 24) is responsible for the brekshit, shrogs and shrootsalad. Lani is responsible for pronouncing his name originally 'dic-terd' and then 'ijot'!
My father was tongue tied as a small child ... and so is Miyuki, so I'm quite interested in the implications of this, and in the subject generally. I'm trying to decide whether to ask for a snip before 6 months, or to leave it to see what happens.

Freya has been having some success improving her pronunciation of yellow and red by yelling at the stroup test on our Nintendo Brain Training! LOL! It didn't recognise her pronunciations before, but it does now. She has worked very hard to get it to understand her!

My mum worked so hard on my sister about pronouncing her 'th' instead of 'f' that we ended up holidaying in 'Thrance' (and still do!) whilst being very threndly rather than thrightened of the Thrench.

3:04 pm, January 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've found with Freya that although she cannot say the words correctly she can hear them correctly and will use the correct letter for the initial sound.

I have a friend with two children who had the same gogs and tats at the same age as each other and they have both grown out of it without any interference. I'm pretty sure she didn't even mention it to them.

3:09 pm, January 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just realised i sound flipant about the snip. Not at all. I'm straying on the side of leaving it alone, but i'm concerned we'll regret that if she ends up needing it when it reqires a general and cauterizing, and such stuff. what a minefield

3:20 pm, January 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:20 pm, January 29, 2008  
Blogger Mister Bee said...

"thirty thousand feathers on a thrush" is a good one to play with...if you live in Essex it becomes "fir'ee faah'san fevvers on a fruh"!

Our family enjoy playing about with language and words, Dr Seuss is always good for a giggle, how fast can Mummy and Daddy get through "Fox in Socks" before getting in a knot? Ogden Nash, Spike Milligan (On the ning, nang, nong where the cows go bong...) and Edward Lear are favourites as well.

Making up nonsense and adding words to the family dictionary is all part of it.

I like the holistic approach on CBEEBIES "Something Special" as well, they say the word, do the sign and point to the written word and picture symbol all at the same time. My kids seem to find that very satisfying and will often sign something as they speak it.


3:59 pm, January 29, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

"My mum worked so hard on my sister about pronouncing her 'th' instead of 'f' that we ended up holidaying in 'Thrance' (and still do!) whilst being very threndly rather than thrightened of the Thrench."

LOL! This made me laugh so much! Also, I didn't know those Nintendo things did speech input too. Hmm, they do sound quite interesting..

Gogs and tats! That's exactly what we have here. Well not real ones, but that's how they're pronounced by Lyddie. How do you know if your child has a tongue-tie then Sally? It hasn't really occured to me to wonder about her tongue, although having said that I think I did go through a phase of thinking along those lines a while ago. Yes, that does sound like a minefield :(

K, oh wow, my stepdad used to do tongue-twisters with us. I'd forgotten all about them. What an excellent idea. And the Dr Seuss thing. And oh yes, Milligan and Lear. The Ning Nang Nong is a particular favourite of mine! Thanks so much for that. Very inspiring.

5:06 pm, January 29, 2008  
Blogger Mister Bee said...

Thanks for your kind words, Gill.

I love your blog and often get a lot of help from reading it so it I'm glad to be able to give something back in a small way


9:49 am, January 30, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

Oh that's a nice thing for me to read :-) I'll look forward to exchanging comments with you here more in the future, hopefully, K. I quite often forget to blog, but then because of feedback received I'm so glad when I do.

2:07 pm, January 30, 2008  

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