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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: I am surprised that a 6 year old would be given speech therapy for this issue. As others have said, this is a particularly difficult sound that may not be mastered until the age of 8 years or so. There is also a lot of dialectal variation in German (and in most other languages, including English) in the way this sound is pronounced. I would not have thought that the Swiss German /r/ was wrong in Hoch Deutsch. Using a /l/ for /r/ is a common developmental strategy: these are close sounds.

She's changed the German with tuition and she will get the others in due course.

The speech therapist's attitude seems to be more like that of an elocutionist (getting people to speak with the 'best' accent) than of a speech therapist (correcting speech that is not normal). If you think your daughter does need speech therapy, find another speech therapist who is multilingual and who is sympathetic to the needs of multilingual children.

Anthea

Reply From: Anthea Fraser Gupta      click here to access email
 
Date: 22-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    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (17-Sep-2012)

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