Sorry, for that quick excursion into the land of the Red Hatters, I tend to digress. I’m going back to issues with hearing loss now. As you may already know, I work in a private preschool with 4 year old children. Many of them are still learning to pronounce certain words. And, in the normal process of speech development there are some adorable utterances coming forth.
For example, two years ago this little girl came up to and said, “Ms Barb, Jewknowwhat?” Seriously, it blurted out of her face so fast, it sounded like it was all one big word. She was really saying, “Do you know what?” Once I encouraged her to slow down and repeat herself, I understood. Then she said, (still very excited to share this fabulous news), “Mymomboughtmeanewparachute!”
“A new parachute? Your mom bought you a new parachute?”
After the giggles, and another reminder to speak s-l-o-w-l-y, she tried again. “My mom bought me a new pair of shoes!!”
So, I learned to identify the problem and communicate my needs, by role modelling to her .. how … to ….. speak … s-l-o-w-l-y.
Then, today, as I am getting to know a whole new group of children, I heard more interesting translations of our English language. One child told me he had “rabeolee” in his lunch box (vs ravioli), another child asked for “anofer“ book, please.
(vs. another book, please).
Then this afternoon, a child told us an absolutely fantastic story, and I mean with creativity and imagination beyond his four years. It featured his two dogs meeting up with dragons and dinosaurs, and, of all things a “inbisable doora.” I had to ask a few good questions to figure out he was talking about an invisible door. It was hysterical! Watch out JK Rowling, a new story teller is here for many years!!
Anyway, my point is that when you expect to hear words pronounced a certain way and instead you hear, words such as “rabeolee,” “anofer” and “inbisable doora,” it can be very, very confusing, and frustrating.
In the last four years, while working with these very young children, I’ve heard other interesting things:
daUDder vs. the other
“Ms Barb, where’s the daUDder (soccer) ball?”
fankful vs. thankful
“I’m fankful for my mommy.”
churkey vs. turkey
“I like the churkey at fanksgiving time.”
I constantly need to remember what environment I’m in, and the limitations so that I have the appropriate expectations. Please understand I’m not denigrating the children. I think they are absolutely adorable! And, it is normal for children to mispronounce words, as they are learning language.
However, when I hear words incorrectly, it feels the same. I often have to ask my husband, “Did you just say tomatoes or potatoes?”
Most of the time on my job, it’s all very amusing!!