When do you start correcting speech/grammar? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 10-22-2010, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd is 3y8m, and I don't correct her speech. I also try to prevent other people from doing it, especially pronunciation (since she is unable to make the sound she is substituting for).

My niece is 7, and has some usage errors that she makes consistently (verb tense stuff). I just let it go and if I am using the same words in response to her I use it correctly.

I babysit her a lot, so I'm with her a lot, and it has gotten me thinking about when to start making corrections. I guess with dd I could start making corrections when she uses the wrong word or form, but still let the pronunciation go until she is able to make the sounds, but I just wonder if correcting them actually helps them learn, or if they just learn it through conversation and reading. If it doesn't really help them learn and they'll get there on their own, then it just seems mean and unnecessary to interrupt them to correct, kwim?

Thoughts?
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#2 of 18 Old 10-22-2010, 05:14 PM
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My son is 5 1/2. Some things I let slide like "hanaburger" instead of "hamburger". I should probably work on that so he doesn't get teased when he reaches public school. But if there is a usage issue like "I don't got that." - I correct it. But I was an English major. And my husband (who turns out is now a physician) uses incorrect English all the time (bc his parents do and so he was never corrected). And it is embarrassing. i have broken him (husband) of a lot of things, but he still says a lot of embarrassing things which is not a good thing when trying to be professional.
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#3 of 18 Old 10-22-2010, 05:29 PM
 
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I believe you are not supposed to correct. Children make predictable mistakes in grammar and pronounciation on their way to learning language rules and then the exception to the rules... better to not interfere in that process. The mistakes are part of the learning process.

My DD just started kindergarten and the range of pronounciation and grammatical ability among the children is quite large... I haven't seen anyone get teased for what are age-appropriate language skills. Hanaburger would definitely fall under age-appropriate, as would things like, "She habs a doll" or "I don't got" or "I getted the book." At least, from what I am hearing in the classroom.
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#4 of 18 Old 10-22-2010, 07:34 PM
 
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When they start to write. Really, in spoken language they'll pick it up. In written language, they may need to be taught some of the 'rules' that make a difference.

Lots of 7 year olds make mistakes on verb tenses, especially for less common verbs. What you do is perfect. She'll get it eventually.

The only time I 'correct' is when my child gets a word 'wrong' (e.g., using vampire for umpire) and it causes confusion.

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#5 of 18 Old 10-22-2010, 07:57 PM
 
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I only correct to the extent that I might kind of repeat what they said (but correctly) in my answer. Like if my ds said (about a boy) "she wants a cookie", I might answer, "oh yes, it looks like he does want a cookie".

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#6 of 18 Old 10-22-2010, 10:51 PM
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I do the repeat but use it correctly thing, too. I think I'd keep doing that for quite some time; I mean, I've done that with my high school students a lot, too. I really believe it's the most effective way. There's no embarassment but just reinforcement, so kids can just soak up the learning. Sometimes DD will clearly be mulling over which usage is correct, like sort of half saying two ways of conjugating a verb, and I'll toss out the correct one and say that's what we say, or if she asks, I wills say such and such is not word, but that's only when she's actively considering the possibilities already.
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#7 of 18 Old 10-23-2010, 02:51 AM
 
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I do the repeat and use it correctly also. I just started doing it with 5 year old DD. My DH's parents also used a lot of bad grammar and DH still has some awful grammar habits that are embarrassing, especially in certain situations.
My older boys were really starting to pick up on his usage errors and I had to really correct them in addition to "repeat correctly" reinforcement.
They are both glad now that I did it and have told me so.

Deb, Mom to Madeleine 8/2005 and Maia 11/2009 Nick: and Chris
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#8 of 18 Old 10-23-2010, 09:02 AM
 
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We model from pretty much the beginning of speech. When 2.5 yo DS says, "we go a store, get more oranges?" I respond with something like "we will go to the store to get more oranges after lunch" or I might just say "we will go to the store after lunch". I take at least part of what he said and model it back in the correct pattern. When the baby says DaDaDa for DH, I say "that's daddy" or "hi daddy".

For speech sounds that I know a child can't make I leave it. For speech sounds that they can make, but the incorrect pronunciation has become a habit, or it's just an error in the initial processing of the word, I will correct.

For a long time, our second DD could not say the L sound. Now she can, but on a few words that she uses a lot, she still replaces L with W out of habit. I've seen my niece and one of my cousin do the same thing. Many of their pronunciation errors lasted longer than they should have out of habit.

Also, on a word with a lot of syllables things sometimes get mixed up the first few time the child tries the word out. With older kids I will break the word down and help them learn to say it. Our girls are 5 and 6 and we've been doing this for a long time now. This assumes that the child can learn to say the word correctly in a couple of tries.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#9 of 18 Old 10-23-2010, 02:14 PM
 
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DS is 4 and I repeat the sentence to model the correct usage. Then again, he's now learning euskera in school and castellan from his friends, so his only exposure to english is at home.
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#10 of 18 Old 10-23-2010, 04:20 PM
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My kids are 7.5 and 4.5 and I correct them both. I probably started around 3 (before that I'd just say it back correctly). Mistakes are very infrequent with both of them now. I know that my 4.5 yr. old notices when people make grammatical/speech mistakes but he knows not to mention it because it might hurt their feelings. They do correct each other on the rare occasion they say something off.
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#11 of 18 Old 10-23-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
Lots of 7 year olds make mistakes on verb tenses, especially for less common verbs. What you do is perfect. She'll get it eventually.

The only time I 'correct' is when my child gets a word 'wrong' (e.g., using vampire for umpire) and it causes confusion.
That's because english has more exceptions than non-exceptions. Good-better-best, never let it rest... and all that! (Love the vampire/umpire switch! so cute )

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, my kids correct my pronunciation. I don't correct theirs, in danish or english, unless they are literally repeating a word I have said in order to learn it or ask what it means.
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#12 of 18 Old 10-23-2010, 10:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post

For speech sounds that I know a child can't make I leave it. For speech sounds that they can make, but the incorrect pronunciation has become a habit, or it's just an error in the initial processing of the word, I will correct.

For a long time, our second DD could not say the L sound. Now she can, but on a few words that she uses a lot, she still replaces L with W out of habit. I've seen my niece and one of my cousin do the same thing. Many of their pronunciation errors lasted longer than they should have out of habit.

Also, on a word with a lot of syllables things sometimes get mixed up the first few time the child tries the word out. With older kids I will break the word down and help them learn to say it. Our girls are 5 and 6 and we've been doing this for a long time now. This assumes that the child can learn to say the word correctly in a couple of tries.
This is pretty much exactly what I do w/DS1 in regards to pronunciation. He just turned 4 and is missing several initial consonants that are usually mastered by 3. I don't make a big deal out of it, but through casual games I can find out which sounds he is able to make in isolation. (Like the "f" sound.) Out of habit, he substitutes the "w" sound for "f". Since I know he is physically able to do it, when he says "Whoa" for "four," I say "Try saying it like this: four." Then he repeats "foe" and I say "You did it!" Nevermind he has no "r" on the end yet. That will come in time.

The only reason I began addressing some of his pronunciation now is because most people outside the family cannot understand him, and it frustrates him. For the things that are habits, I think the sooner I help him re-learn, the better. But we keep it positive, fun and casual, which I think is key.
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#13 of 18 Old 10-26-2010, 02:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamieCole View Post
Out of habit, he substitutes the "w" sound for "f". Since I know he is physically able to do it, when he says "Whoa" for "four," I say "Try saying it like this: four." Then he repeats "foe" and I say "You did it!" Nevermind he has no "r" on the end yet. That will come in time.

The only reason I began addressing some of his pronunciation now is because most people outside the family cannot understand him, and it frustrates him. For the things that are habits, I think the sooner I help him re-learn, the better. But we keep it positive, fun and casual, which I think is key.
This is what I do as well. DS (will be 4 in November) is a BIG keeper of habit. He didn't speak in sentences until we encouraged it and he "had to". So, when there are sounds he can say (he substitutes "s" for "f" out of nothing but habit, for example) I will ask him if he can say it the right way, and after he does he'll normally say, "now people can understand me better!". It's an issue of other people understanding him, and I want him to be able to communicate as well as possible so it's not frustrating for him when others don't understand. The stuff I understand to be typical age-related things (he can't say "th", as an example) I don't correct, and I assume it will straighten itself out.

Mama of two... DS born at 35w5d (11/06) and DD : born full term 38w3d (5/09) on what would have been my dad's 64th birthday. Always missing my dad who died of oral cancer 3/11/09.
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#14 of 18 Old 10-26-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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I repeat what my kiddo has said (reflective listening), but use the appropriate wording/tense. I do this in a way that reinforces I'm listening & engaged in the conversation, but not in a way that seems like I'm "correcting" him. I learned this approach from a speech pathologist. I believe that correcting speech can cause a kid to become self-conscious & ultimately say less, so I don't do it overtly.

Silly example:
Him = "I ate-ed my lunch today"
Me = "You ate your lunch today?" (no emphasis on "ate", appear interested)
Him = "yeah!" (ie. conversation continues, he doesn't feel self-conscious)

Over time, it really does work.

A long time ago a friend often corrected my then 3-4 yo, and I was very upset about this. It's counterproductive to learning language, and can make a kid feel chastised or stupid. I wouldn't even do it w/ a 7 yo, unless the kid is asking you for help.
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#15 of 18 Old 10-26-2010, 08:43 PM
 
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Well I think in general the model and repeat is the best approach - definitely for younger kids - I think that there is also a difference b/w grammar errors and mispronunciation errors due to misunderstandings - for example - I was forever saying na'kin for napkin when I was in first grade - I really never heard the p until it was exaggerated (by my teacher) and pointed out to me - I was grateful but also a little embarrassed (mostly that I'd been saying it wrong for such a long time and no one had corrected me

So I think it also depends on the age and type of error that is made
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#16 of 18 Old 10-27-2010, 12:48 AM
 
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Until DS started school, I went strictly for modeling, but I was a very consistent modeler and DS spoke extremely clearly. Now that he has started school, where he picks up poor pronunciation from fellow students, and gotten to the whiny age, I will insist he repeat slurred, mumbled and whined request clearly (sometimes out of pure necessity.) If his second attempt isn't clear, I will correct.

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#17 of 18 Old 10-27-2010, 02:52 AM
 
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dd just started kindergarten and there is a really good speech program in the school here apparently so practically every kid goes for speech therapy every week during class. dd is now taking speech. i agreed but told them as long as she was having fun and it wasn't making her feel "dumb" then she could continue, otherwise i would pull her out because i feel like she CAN be understood and she will correct herself eventually.

since school has started i've wondered the same question because as pp have said i usually repeat back using proper language/pronunciation but when dd started speech, i would start correcting her when she said things incorrectly and it made me feel bad. so i stopped. i remember as a kid being embarrassed and frustrated when my mother would interrupt me all the time to fix what i was saying and i remember thinking "just let me talk!"

so i'm thinking i'll leave the speech correcting up to the speech pathologist and just keep at the repeating correctly thing at home.

Married Busy Mom to DSS 01/05, DD 11/05, DSD 11/06, DD 02/07, DS 03/08 and baby on the way 11/10
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#18 of 18 Old 11-01-2010, 07:07 AM
 
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Interesting, I never thought about correcting or not. When DD says something wrong I repeat it back in the proper grammer. Just because improper grammer drives me nuts. I don't make a big deal out of it, usually it goes like this:
pointing at a girl "Hes not happy no more"
Me: "she isn't happy anymore?" (no emphasis, just repeating)
Her: "Yea, he fell" (shes bad at the whole he/she thing)
I got on my Dad about it though because he was making a huge deal out of her using can instead of may. He thought I was crazy for not making her repeat everything she gets wrong, Im glad its not to crazy. Seemed a little excessive.

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