Social Media and Engagement Editor and photographer for the Telegraph.

Should you try to change your child's accent?

Posted 4 years.

5 Comments

  • Gill - 4 years ago

    lol - this is hilarious. How insecure are we that we care how our children speak? They'll figure it out for themselves at some point that to get a particular point across you need to say something in a different way and that you address the Queen differently to how you would speak to your friends.

  • Den Browne - 4 years ago

    Yuk, this has to be the most cringe-inducing article I've read in quite a while. Some 50 years ago my parents would go into a frenzy of panic at the slightest "yeah" (because it was considered "American" - nothing to do with class snobbery, of course) - I can't believe the same attitudes still prevail. Has she considered that apart from her fitting in with her pals, it might be a very necessary element of self-protection for her daughter? Most of my (RP Brought up) friends who went to state schools soon tired of being beaten up every day & ostracised as snobs & developed a Mockney survival accent. Anyway, children go through so many phases & stages as they grow up that it's senseless to go all "end of civilisation as we know it" over a little bit of vernacular speech. Lighten up!

  • E. Ann Sykes - 4 years ago

    I understand the frustration. We live in Italy. My 19 year old son has started speaking in American slang with a dash of an Italian accent. Shock horror! We can thank rappers for their negative influence not just on the way our children speak but also for the words and phrases they use. As a teacher of English to doctors and other professionals, I am very aware of the importance of being understood by mother tongue english speakers and second language english speakers. The Queen's english still sets the standards for effective international communication, be it an conferences or over the telephone.

  • Jess - 4 years ago

    Arghh!! Such misplaced snobbery! Children will develop an accent regardless of what you try to cultivate-it is picked up organically and unknowably. So don't waste your time with ridiculous "elocution" attempts as chances are your efforts would not only be less than beneficial but actively detrimental; after all, who the hell wants a precocious posho posturing their idiot opinion?? Not I dear boy! Pip pip

  • Fiona - 4 years ago

    Hi

    The solution I came up with was to explain to my children that different situations call for different behaviour. In a moment of channelling my father: "I don't care *how* your friends talk - in this house we speak properly."

    It is certainly appropriate for children to fit in with their friends, but research has shown they're much more likely to be well received at interviews if they speak RP. It's the same with behaviour, surely: we have indoor behaviour and outdoor behaviour; best behaviour and home behaviour; lesson behaviour and playtime behaviour.

    There is no one size fits all and we do our children no favours to insist that there is. But we can teach them that life is complex and that some behaviours/speech patterns are acceptable in some situations and other behaviours/speech patterns in others.

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