Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Development of Spoken English:Part 1

Your young child has just learnt to speak in English! Every time she says a few words, your heart is filled with joy. You feel proud of your little one and her newly acquired skill.

One day, she comes running to you and says “Mama, my dress is tear”

How would you react?

Would you smile and correct her sentence gently?

Would you get worked up and point out her mistake to her?

Would you worry that your child is not speaking correct English and that she may never learn?

It is perfectly normal for young children to make mistakes while learning a new language. It is nothing to get worried about.

The next time you catch yourself stressing over your child’s wrong English, take a minute to focus on the miracle of language development in young children. Very young children learn to speak without any effort on the part of the adults.

And isn’t it natural that while learning any new skill, mistakes happen?

So, what should one do when children speak wrong English?

All you need to do is repeat the correct version of the sentence. It’s as simple as that!

So, when your child says, “Mama, my dress is tear”, you can repeat the sentence correctly, “Oh, your dress is torn.”

That’s it.

With time, children do learn the correct usage of English. Correcting every mistake, scolding or making fun of the child for her improper usage of words can indeed be demoralising for her.

Appreciate the child’s effort in learning to speak a new language. Appreciate the child’s capability. And begin to trust the same capability to take care of so called mistakes. Continue to do your part of providing gentle exposure to good English and the child’s innate capacities will take care of the rest.

For more ideas on exposing children to the English language, check out the subsequent post in this series. 

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