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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Subject: Speech Therapy for Multilingual Child
Question: Our daughter has been taken speechtherapy to learn to say the ''R''
instead of the ''L'', as she went to the German school they did
teach her to say the R correctly, however, as they do in German,
the sound coming from the back of the throat. However, she also
speaks Spanish and Swiss German and English, where the ''R'' is
pronounced in the front of the mouth (with the tongue by the front
teeth). Problem is, she now can say High German words correctly
with the ''R'' from the back, but when she speaks in Spanish and
Swiss German she can't and still uses the ''L'' instead. Question:
can a speech therapist teach the ''R'' to be used in any language or
do we have to get someone for each language? I am frustrated with
our current speech therapist who doesn't care that my daughter
says it wrong in other languages, as long as she did her job with
High German... Any advice and or pointing me in the right direction
is greatly appreciated! (P.S. My daughter is 6 years old.)

Thank you in advance!

Reply: Your daughter is six years old and is speaking four languages? My reaction would be to give her a break, and not worry her at this stage about niceties of pronunciation in each of her languages. In the language or languages which end up really mattering in her life as she grows older, I don't doubt that she will adjust to iron out any inadequacies in her speech sooner or later. At this point I would be more bothered by the danger of overloading her than by oddities of pronunciation.

Geoffrey Sampson

Reply From: Geoffrey Richard Sampson      click here to access email
 
Date: 17-Sep-2012
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Speech Therapy for Multilingual Child    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (17-Sep-2012)
  2. Re: Speech Therapy for Multilingual Child    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (17-Sep-2012)
  3. Re: Speech Therapy for Multilingual Child    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (22-Sep-2012)

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