Kids aw hawd to ustan

CJ, like most kids his age, pronounces “r” as “w.”  I was investigating this a bit and found the following interesting page which lists the various phonological shifts young kids undergo as they learn to speak.  A lot of these are things CJ does and which I’d never consciously noticed!  (e.g. “weak syllable deletion”, in which “telephone” becomes “teffone.”)  The r/w issue is called “gliding of  liquids.”  Did you know that people typically can’t pronounce “th” as in “thing” until they’re eight and a half years old?

This kind of thing always reminds me of a bit of comic business in The Mosquito Coast about a guy in Massachusetts with a speech impediment and a wife named Cheryl, who he calls “Shovel.”  The Mosquito Coast is a great, great, great novel, by the way!  Not sure everyone is aware of this.

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6 thoughts on “Kids aw hawd to ustan

  1. Did you know that people typically can’t pronounce “th” as in “thing” until they’re eight and a half years old?

    Unless zey are French, in which case, it never happens…

  2. Richard says:

    So little kids go through an Elmer Fudd phase?

  3. cl says:

    Along what Emmanuel said, I wonder if phonetics is similar to language and becomes much much more difficult once you pass a certain age. I wonder what might be the “viable age” for learning “th.”

  4. Xander Faber says:

    I’m in the camp that believes language is absolutely necessary for rational thought, and so it seems to me that we’re slowing ourselves down in the English speaking world by having sounds like “th” that one can’t master until 8 years old. Maybe I’ve just stumbled across the new fad to promote American superiority in “Matt and Science.” Streamline da language.

  5. Mark Lavel says:

    My cousin (who is 5 years old), speaks like this. None of us are concerned as it seems very normal for that age. It’s pretty cute as well.

  6. I think as long as the child has a parent or teacher who is consistent in correcting them when they pronounce things incorrectly, the mispronunciation should resolve itself in a timely manner and there wouldn’t be an cause for concern regarding the child’s future ability to form coherent and rational thoughts and/or thought processes.

    What worries me personally is that education and parental guidance is severely heading downhill these days, I’m afraid the average intellectual capability of our future generations might eventually be compensated because of this.

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