In reading about ocean life, as mentioned in my previous Ongoing Letter entry, I saw this article, “How to talk to little kids“. (No, you didn’t read it wrong. I know the two concepts aren’t related. But there was an ad, if you can call it that, to read the article. And of course, being an ex-kids’-teacher, I had to click on it.)
I don’t agree with all of it, but one thing the article mentioned that also drove me a little batty when teaching kids is adults’ habit of talking in high-pitched squeaky-talk sing-song voices. Aunts or uncles or grandparents would come by sometimes and say, in a sing-song tone, “Ohhhhh, you‘re speaking English!!!” Not sure who it drove nuts more – me or the child. The child, of course, would roll their eyes, get terribly embarrassed, and never open their mouth (in English) again while they were there. Parents, on the other hand, would not. Why? I asked them to please not do that. It hinders the overall process of learning to speak another language. “Talk to them normally,” I asked. They would – except for one really old grandmother who came by who spoke to everyone younger than her that way all the time.