Enunciate! Discovering the importance of speaking clearly.

It seems every blog post now is going to start with my apologies for not posting sooner. I have the urge to write, but not the time. Or I have the time but not the urge. I’ve started keeping better notes on how Bitti is expressing herself so at least I have something to prompt a post now. And so, on to the latest instalment of her linguistic adventures …

Pronunciation

I noticed a few weeks ago that she now pronounces monkey correctly. This is most disappointing. For a long while monkeys were tatties [tah-tees]. She loved singing that song about monkeys jumping on the bed, and it’d come out ‘no more taaaaaatties jumping on the bed’. Alas, no more. However, there are other amusing errors to take its place.

A favourite game at the moment is Fighting. I’m handed any long-ish, stick-ish object and issued an instruction to ‘Bight!’. Whether wise or not, I have encouraged this by gifting her uncle toy pirate swords for his birthday for the express purpose of fighting with Bitti when she visits. Mostly this is an amusing way to annoy my brother as he is not capable of turning down her insistent requests to drop whatever he is doing and play with her. Add to that the general amusement to be found in observing a tall, muscular man being beaten backward by a puny child with more determination than coordination and I believe the gift has been a great success. It is entirely possible that my brother may disagree.

Returning to the mispronunciation of ‘fight’, I was quite sure she had a grip on the ‘f’ sound, so I tested her. I asked her say a few f-ing phrases and here’s what happened:

‘Can you say fairy?’

fight-club

Bight Club?

‘Fairy.’

‘Can you say fly?’

‘Fly.’

‘Can you say fear?’

‘Fear.’

‘Can you say fight?’

‘Bight.’

If you listen to the audio you can hear the clacking of fighting sticks as we talk. We are most excellent multi-taskers.

Bitti is acutely aware now of when her pronunciation differs from mine. A long while ago she observed that I said ‘Octonauts’*, while she could only manage ‘Ocpod’. She would frequently interject her attempts at communication with, ‘I can’t say my words!’, before trying another way to get her message across (well, that or collapsing in a screaming pile of frustration for 20 minutes, both being viable options when you’re but two years old).

At one stage she was telling her father about our neighbour and came back very concerned because he had mistakenly heard the name as ‘Jay’, but the name is actually ‘Jade’. ‘He doesn’t say it right!’ So, I had to intercede and clarify the name for her. It is so important to clear up miscommunications, as Bitti will tell you. She couldn’t rest until I had explained the mix up.

The latest amusing mispronunciation is her use of ‘yep’ instead of ‘yet’. She says, ‘I didn’t do that yep.’ Super cute, hopefully this one sticks around for a while.

Notes

*For the uninitiated, Octonauts is a TV show for young children. Various non-aquatic animals live in an ‘Octopod’ under the sea and effect rescues on marine creatures who, despite having evolved specifically for an oceanic habitat, seem oddly crap at managing in it unaided by the Octonauts team.

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