Do you correct other children's improper language? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 51 Old 08-06-2010, 10:55 AM
 
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It seems like it would be unfair to correct kids unless I also corrected adults, which I don't because it seems plainly rude, so I don't correct kids. My pet peeve, by the way, is when people confuse "fewer" and "less".
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#32 of 51 Old 08-06-2010, 11:09 AM
 
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Heck my students today were lamenting that they didn't know whether the response to "How are you?" should be "I'm good" or "I'm well" because they'd been corrected too many times. (It's good, by the way, unless you're talking about health.)
I was taught that the only polite response to this question was "I'm fine, thank you. How are you?" In my mother's world based on strict polite manners, this question is only a social nicety and not an actual inquiry into your health or mood. But that's my mom for you...

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#33 of 51 Old 08-06-2010, 01:21 PM
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I have a bit of a double standard, I suppose. For English, I never correct. Nor do I parrot back. I simply model the language and she picks it up through exposure.

But when dd is speaking Russian (her weaker language, the minority language where we live), I do sometimes correct grammar. Perhaps because she has less exposure to Russian being spoken naturally, or perhaps because of the specific properties of Russian grammar by which incorrect grammatical form is not simply nonstandard (as the English equivalent might be), but can entirely obscure the meaning that she is trying to express. In cases where incorrect grammar makes her meaning unclear, I do correct her.


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I will not correct it until my kids are old enough to think metalinguistically
This is my inclination as well. At least with English.


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My pet peeve, by the way, is when people confuse "fewer" and "less".
You know, I've noticed this more and more recently. I really think "fewer" is going to die out in the next generation or so. "Less" has become so frequent, even in "educated" speech (TV news anchors even say it now!).

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#34 of 51 Old 08-06-2010, 03:22 PM
 
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my ds makes mistakes sometimes in English, he used to say "he" instead of "she" when he was younger. That being said, he's fluent in 3 languages although, as I said he makes mistakes in one language or another...

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#35 of 51 Old 08-06-2010, 05:44 PM
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Yes, I correct children when they say something incorrectly. I'd hope others would do the same for my kids.
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#36 of 51 Old 08-06-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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Ah, but it's a 'rule' that's only really enforced in academic contexts.
I find this argument disturbing, although the first time I heard it was from my english-major of a mom! That was sure a surprise, since she had corrected my grammar throughout my childhood.

In the business world, and in school, people need to be able to speak and write correctly. Anything else does not reflect well on their intellectual abilities!

As a side note, my dad was thrilled about texting. He said pretty soon everybody would spell phonetically like him!!
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#37 of 51 Old 08-06-2010, 09:57 PM
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In the business world, and in school, people need to be able to speak and write correctly. Anything else does not reflect well on their intellectual abilities!
I see it more as a question of etiquette, rather than intellectual abilities. Just as it wouldn't be good form to wear jeans to job interview, it wouldn't be good form to speak dialectally. But wearing jeans at home--just as speaking a nonstandard dialect at home, among family and friends--in no way reflects a person's intellectual or professional competence. There is a time and a place where one must adhere to various externally (and perhaps even arbitrarily) determined standards, including those of language, if one is interested in social mobility. But in other situations, it makes little difference, or for reasons of in-group solidarity, might even be preferable to speak a nonstandard dialect.

And now, for some reason, I have My Fair Lady stuck in my head: "If you spoke as she does, sir, instead of the way you do/Why, you might be selling flowers, too."

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#38 of 51 Old 08-07-2010, 08:33 PM
 
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.... But in other situations, it makes little difference, or for reasons of in-group solidarity, might even be preferable to speak a nonstandard dialect. ...
Oh yes, I definitely agree with this. My point is that people have to know both, and how to tell the difference, in order to succeed in both scenarios.

The goal of speaking is not *merely* communication. There are also lots of non-spoken things going on, like solidarity among peers, generating trust in potential clients, etc.
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#39 of 51 Old 08-08-2010, 01:03 AM
 
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Oh yes, I definitely agree with this. My point is that people have to know both, and how to tell the difference, in order to succeed in both scenarios.

The goal of speaking is not *merely* communication. There are also lots of non-spoken things going on, like solidarity among peers, generating trust in potential clients, etc.
But 3 year olds don't need to be able to shift register yet! I'm not saying don't teach the standard rules, it's just don't bother correcting kids when most of the problems are developmental.

Then, when you do teach the standard register, then teach it as such. "This is the way you speak in academic and business contexts." But then you should also teach kids that there are contexts where it's OK (and probably better) to speak their home dialect. It's important to teach people that there's a standard dialect and that you'll be judged harshly for not using it. Then you can teach the specifics.

But what happens in most cases is that teachers enforce seemingly random rules, confuse students, who then become uncertain about their language and claim they don't understand grammar. Or they hypercorrect and then write "between you and I"!

Young children don't need to be able to register shift or dialect shift. Really, we don't expect it until kids hit about middle school age, and we don't judge them for not being able to do it until high school.

By the time they hit late elementary or middle school, they can understand the rules, the reasons for shifting and the contexts where it's appropriate. This is a really good example of a way to teach this: Playing AAE Jeopardy in LA (note this brings up a real player window; if that doesn't work, you can read about it here.)

Sorry, I'll get off my linguistics high horse here.

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#40 of 51 Old 08-08-2010, 09:01 AM
 
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I know how it feels when someone corrects me in conversation and I remember feeling the same exact way when I was a child myself; why would I want to treat someone else's child like that? It strikes me as particularly rude when the child is a guest in your home. My mother stressed both correct grammar and gracious host behavior!

In fact, I rarely correct my own kiddo. He learns very well by example and auto-corrects over time, so why mess with what works? We go out of our way to avoid people who feel the need to correct other people's children. That kind of behavior keeps us from enjoying their company. Sadly, many teachers seem to fall into this category. Save it for classroom, teach! You're off duty.
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#41 of 51 Old 08-08-2010, 05:45 PM
 
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I jsut repeat back there words but "correctly'
Child: Her has cute feet
Me: yes she has cute feet and she had cute hands and she has a cute little nose....
Kids learn what they hear so I have no issues with them hearing words correctly.. At the same time if ones always correcting by saying no or do it again it can cause them to just not bother.


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#42 of 51 Old 08-08-2010, 07:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kriket View Post
Yep.

I babysit a 6 year old, and when he mispronounces a word I will correct him. Like he says Skeleton, skel-ken. But I babysit him 20 hours a week, so I feel like he should learn something from me!
It sounds like you're a great sitter and really involved, but honestly if you we're my sitter, I would not want you correcting my child's pronunciation of words. I love to hear the way my child mis-pronounces words and it breaks my heart everytime she drops another mis-pronunciation. She has already self-corrected so many words. I have no doubt that she will learn to say them all correctly in time.

Jennifer, mama to darling dancing Juliette, and sweet baby Jameson
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#43 of 51 Old 08-08-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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I want my child to hear words right, and while it melts my heart when she pronounces things not quite right in the end correct is our goal.. However I can not stand when someone tries to make my LO say it "better" or correctly. My DD is apraxic and she gets very overwhelmed with that. It doesn't help if anything it makes things worse and she just shuts down and refuses to talk.

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#44 of 51 Old 08-09-2010, 12:57 PM
 
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Goodness, no. By the way, I'm an editor. I correct people for a living. (But only when they ask, and pay me for it.)

I recast for my own children, but only sometimes, because I've read the research about how it doesn't help much anyway. If my own son started saying "Her has cute feets" due to exposure to another kid, I'd correct him, but if it was a phase he was in, I might leave it alone.

As for people freaking out about the improper grammar and usage of others, it's come to strike me as something people do to feel intellectually superior to others, a lot of the time. Unless I am asked, I keep my mouth shut. Also, there is a lot more to being a good, clear communicator than knowing the difference between "fewer" and "less."

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#45 of 51 Old 08-09-2010, 01:56 PM
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I recast for my own children, but only sometimes, because I've read the research about how it doesn't help much anyway.
You know, I was actually just about to ask that very question. Does correction even work? I know I can tell dd something until I'm blue in the face, but often it just doesn't stick, especially if she is excited or worked up for some reason. Habits of various kinds seem to be formed in a different manner, and I wonder if it is the same thing with language correction.

If you correct your child, do the corrections "stick"? (I'm not planning on correcting my child regardless, I was just curious about this mechanism of language acquisition )

PhDin' mama to dd (Oct. 2005)
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#46 of 51 Old 08-09-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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I will correct in my response back, but not lecture- I certainly don't see that as 'correcting' someone else's child. I mean, the alternative would be to use the incorrect grammar back or just avoid it altogether, right? I think modelling correct grammar is the best option, even if it won't 'stick' right then and there. The long term effects of hearing the correct pronoun usage is what will eventually have the desired affect of the child using correct grammar.
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#47 of 51 Old 08-09-2010, 02:49 PM
 
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I'm another English teacher.

I don't correct grammar unless I'm on the clock

I don't correct my children unless there is a language concept that they don't seem to be understanding (my oldest had trouble with prepositions at four and five, and I did work with him on that).

My four year old often says "her" or "her's" for "she." "Her's so cute!" I think it's really endearing, actually. Maybe that's why I don't correct LOs -- soon enough they will learn the correct way and that phase of cuteness is forever gone. I may cry when my youngest finally learns all the pronouns -- the mishaps are sweet.

I might reflect back as PPs have said, using the correct formation: "Yes, she is cute!" I would not out-and-out correct, though. I think it's rude. And fwiw my children hear correct grammar all day long, but they all went through stages of misuse as they acquired language skills.

I also don't correct my older children when they are hanging out with their friends and speaking slang -- even though it is like nails on a chalkboard. I think it's fine for them to have one way of speaking with their peers provided they know how to speak and present themselves effectively in other situations.

Joy, mama to Aquaboy (10), Goldilocks (8), Squidge (4)
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#48 of 51 Old 08-09-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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I'm another English teacher.

I don't correct grammar unless I'm on the clock

I don't correct my children unless there is a language concept that they don't seem to be understanding (my oldest had trouble with prepositions at four and five, and I did work with him on that).

My four year old often says "her" or "her's" for "she." "Her's so cute!" I think it's really endearing, actually. Maybe that's why I don't correct LOs -- soon enough they will learn the correct way and that phase of cuteness is forever gone. I may cry when my youngest finally learns all the pronouns -- the mishaps are sweet.

I might reflect back as PPs have said, using the correct formation: "Yes, she is cute!" I would not out-and-out correct, though. I think it's rude. And fwiw my children hear correct grammar all day long, but they all went through stages of misuse as they acquired language skills.
I could have written this, except my child is three, not four.

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#49 of 51 Old 08-09-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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No. I never correct other kids' grammar. At most, I will correct if the gender is wrong (but that is less grammar than fact) or possibly if I don't understand, I would clarify. I might repeat back to my own child (she's doing the past tense now... so like, "I maked a sandwich!" "Oh, you made a sandwich, you're getting awfully big!") but not to other kids unless it seemed really appropriate to repeat what they said and then I wouldn't repeat the mistake, of course.

And yes, as everyone said, it's a phase. My DD didn't go through it for some reason, not the pronoun thing. Verb tense is another matter entirely.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#50 of 51 Old 08-09-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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No. I never correct other kids' grammar. At most, I will correct if the gender of a child is wrong (but that is less grammar than fact) or possibly if I don't understand, I would clarify. I might repeat back to my own child (she's doing the past tense now... so like, "I maked a sandwich!" "Oh, you made a sandwich, you're getting awfully big!") but not to other kids unless it seemed really appropriate to repeat what they said and then I wouldn't repeat the mistake, of course.

And yes, as everyone said, it's a phase. My DD didn't go through it for some reason, not the pronoun thing. Verb tense is another matter entirely.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#51 of 51 Old 08-09-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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I mean, the alternative would be to use the incorrect grammar back or just avoid it altogether, right?
I think it's easy to avoid the self-conscious, intentional recasting.

"Her has cute foots!" "Yes, let's eat them up!"

I mean, you might of course refer to the baby as "she" in the next sentence, but I don't think that it's hard to avoid saying "Yes, SHE does have cute FEET!"

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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