Friday

Chidren at the Liberry After Brefest...

Received Friday, April 18, 2008- Perspective & Opinion
Our wonderful nanny is a remarkable person. She is energetic, fun, trustworthy and treats our two children as if they are her own. We have a six month old and a 2.5 year old child. The problem is that the nanny says words like "baffroom" (bathroom), "bat" (bath), "han" (hand), "srimp" (shrimp) "alls" (as in "alls you have to do"), and "aks" or "axe" (ask me), "fith" (fifth), "tex" (text), "supposably" (supposedly), "liberry" (library), "burd" (bread), "brefest" (breakfast),"jewry" (jewelry), "chidren" (children) and "birfday" (birthday).
I racked my brain thinking of the words that concern me, because it isn't just 2 or 3. I promise you, I am not a critical person, but my oldest spends 7-9 hours a day with the nanny and he has picked up some of her vocabulary. '

My question is this:
1) Do we correct this on our own with the child out of site of the nanny? OR
2) Do we correct this on our own with the child whenever it comes up (possibly in front of the nanny) ? OR
3) Do we talk to the nanny about our language preferences?

99 comments:

Hellcat said...

It sounds as though your nanny may be a bit simple. I hate ALL of those "words." Does she use them as slang, or is it some kind of accent?
I'd try option two, but she might not get it. Worst case scenario- just tell her. I'm sure she would understand why you want your children to have good pronunciation.

Janet E. said...

It's obvious that your loving nanny is from the islands.. at least by the sound of the pronunciation... but i suggest having a sit down meeting with her.

Start by praising her with her good work.
Talk about general work stuff.

Then add that you've noticed that your children have picked up some of her vocabulary and that as much as you respect her ethnicity that you would appreciate her attention to correct english pronunciation to help their vocabulary grow correct.

You can even offer to pay for some language classes to help her pronunciation and compensate her for the time she'd have to spend on it if she feels it is not something she can fix by herself.

Suggest that she focus on full pronunciation and not slang.

Remember it will take her some time to learn to speak without her accent and to be patient. If you find her resistant or offended offer her your apologies but that it is something you feel passionate about to help the children develop to their best potential.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

This is a serious issue. I would speak to your nanny respectfully and outline your concerns. It is imperative that children who are learning to speak learn from adults who are articulate. A nanny's job is not just to take good care of the children, but also to be an example for them. She needs to be conscious of the slang and diction she uses while around them. If this is an accent, she might appreciate a language/diction class. If this is just a case of affected slang, a gentle discussion of your concerns should be enough to cause her to use proper English while at work.

If she is unable or unwilling to improve her diction, I would start looking for a replacement. Some nannies are absolutely wonderful for infants, but inappropriate for toddlers/preschoolers.

Helaine said...

My nanny had the awful habit of using a few slang phrases. One of them was "I'm a tell you somethin" and occasionally she would say "he be" instead of he is. This was slang, for certain as in her interview, she presented well spoken. In my opinion, if they can speak well in an interview; they can and should speak well all of the time. Rather than address it with the nanny, I would just look confused when she was speaking to me. She would report something to me or ask me something and I would shake my head at her and say, "excuse me". When she corrected herself, I would then respond with, "Ohhh, okay, he's running in the hallway". Reemphasizing what she should when she said it correctly. It might seem rude, but I have none such tolerance for such a sloppy way of speaking.

Having said all of that, if her propensity for using street slang had been apparent in her interview, she would have
n-e-v-e-r been hired!

jerseyxjacqui said...

Yah, my question is whether or not this is an accent, a speech impediment or just an odd, annoying, inappropriate way of speaking...
That would drive me insane....but that's because I AM critical :-)

I understand your concerns. It's bad enough grammar isn't taught past a fifth grade level in public schools. It's bad enough that things like the internet and text messaging have sent the language straight to hell...to be influenced by poor grammar at such a young age is probably cause for alarm. At least a little bit.

Anonymous said...

You should spend enough time with your child and talk enough with your child to counteract any bad speech he/she may be picking up from his/her nanny. My daughter would pick up slang or bad language from school where she spends 7 hours of her day and I would make sure to correct her when I heard her saying the wrong things. This nanny is a grown woman and unless she had drastically changed since you hired her, you need to just make sure you teach your child to speak the way you think that they should.

Anonymous said...

Public schools? I shudder to think.

This would be grounds for dismissal for me. I would be absolutely mortified if my three year old said to his grandfather, "I want to aks you a question".

maggie said...

People like you are going to make it very easy for my child(ren) to get in to the very best of schools. You have made a serious error in the hiring of your nanny. Damage control demands that she be terminated and a new nanny be hired. This nanny sounds like she has some lovely points, but well spoken and educated are prerequisites for me.

Anonymous said...

The problem isn't with the nanny as everyone is trying to say. The problem is with the employer who hired a nanny and then expected her to magically become something else. A person that speaks the way you have said, does so without ever thinking they are saying anything wrong. So truthfully she had to say half of these same words during her interview. Why did you ever hire her in the first place? And now she will be the one without a job. Great going OP!

And most of you on here are ignorant. If I have a nanny who speaks with a spanish accent do I think my child will develop that same accent....ummmmm no! Spend more time with your child and you will have nothing to worry about.

Lauren said...

Presumably a two year old is learning to speak and may even be going to the bathroom. I just cringe at the thought of a nanny telling a child to go to the bafroom. My children would not know what she was talking about!

Anonymous said...

lauren....
then your children probably wouldn't know what you were talking about if you said bathroom.

lauren said...

You don't know the first thing about my children.

A Fabulous Nanny said...

bahaha sometimes these petty fights are such a pick me up on a bad day :)

Oh, and I didn't mean your issue OP, just the little banter on the comments :) I think that you should talk to your nanny about it, but in a positive light and do emphasize her good points. Also don't hesitate to correct your child at anytime- they are you're children afterall, not hers.

Anonymous said...

lauren...
i know they have a not so smart mother :-). stop acting as if you never speak with any kind of slang around your children. why do some people have to be so high and mighty all the time. "oh i never"....shut up!

Anonymous said...

If your kid can't tell that bafroom and bathroom are the same thing, I worry about their language comprehension!

Anonymous said...

OMG get the nanny some lessons. She may just have a problem and this would help her. Why do people hire nannies from other countries and then complain about the way they talk? I see Hispanic nannies at the parks talking in spanish constantly in front of their charges all the time. Does this mean those kids are going to have an accent? Probably. I live in San Francisco and I know adults that were born and raised here but their families came from Mexico and they have accents because their families speak mainly spanish. I have heard youngsters who have Brittish nannies speak like the nanny. Kids learn from the people that spend the most time with them. Maybe instead of a nanny these kids need to go to a Daycare that speaks only English (good luck with that). I would just correct my 2.5 yr old when he/she says bafroom, "it's bathroom honey" If the nanny overhears you and says something be honest and say "I wish you would pronounce things correctly" because I don't want my son to say his words this way. Send her to a class or buy her some tapes to work on her English. If she is so good with the kids maybe you could be good to her and help her out a little. I used to have a very heavy drawl coming from the South and I took speech lessons when I moved up North because I got sick of the jokes people thought were so funny. She may have a speech impediment?

LindaLou said...

hmmmmmm. i can honestly say that i don't speak slang around my children. i don't know any slang. it isn't that i think i'm better than anyone else...

this would be an issue for me, however, i agree with the person who said that this had to be apparent from day one. i don't think you can hire someone then expect them to change the entire way they speak.

emily said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

There are some West Indians who talk like this, particularly Jamaicans. During your interview, did she speak standard english? I am sure if she had used these local dialects, you would have picked up on them. In the future I think parents should ask prospective nannies whether they speak another language and/or have different dialects. I come from the island of Dominica. We speak standard english, creole french(patois), broken english/coloquial language(patois or slang). As a former teacher and nanny, I have very low tolerance for adults who talk broken english(english patois as the Jamaicans would call it) around developing minds, especially when the nanny can speak standard english and knows better.When I was a nanny, I only associated with other nannies who spoke well. This benefited the children and I did not have to lower my standards.

Anonymous said...

1:02
well good for you. so what your saying is because someone may have an accent due to where they are from, you are lowering your standards by having a conversation with them?? sounds like they are the ones who benefited from you not "lowering your standards". your comments sound very LOW CLASS to me.

MissDee said...

I agree with 12:17, that if how your nanny speaks is a concern for you, than you should do what she said, and explain with tact that you would prefer her to speak correctly when speaking to your son, so that he doesn't mispronounce his words. My father speaks 4 languages, and sometimes he can be hard to understand. I have epilepsy, and sometimes I talk too fast and people can't understand me. When I worked retail, I asked a customer something, and he responded with "looks like someone has been drinking a little today". I don't know if he was joking, but I was kind of offended, since I do tend to talk fast at times, which I believe may be related to my epilepsy.

"Honestly, what did you expect when you hired a black person?" OK Emily, so now that this family did hire someone who is black, does what you said imply that anyone who is black is uneducated, and therefore, because they are black, does that mean they speak slang, so they shouldn't be around children, because they are black? That sounded a little racist...care to explain what you meant? BTW: My best friend is black, well spoken and educated, like most black people, both in this country and in other countries.

Anonymous said...

"that sounded a little racist"...Missdee, of course it was racist. Hellooooooooo! What more does she need to explain?

Meg said...

1:12,
I don't think that is what 1:02 is saying at all. Perhaps you are in need of a reading comprehension course?

Some people choose to be ignorant. Out of habit and laziness, they choose to use slang. It sounds idiotic. You cannot tell me in this day and age, an adult does not know that in English, the place where we shower and brush our teeth is called a
B A T H R O O M. I know alot of people who use repulsive slang and they do nothing but dumb themselves down. Are you "wit" me?
Dumb yourself down, don't negatively influence the children around you.

And sorry OP, but shame on you.
You are likely holding on to a nanny that you should have terminated a year ago.

Anonymous said...

I can see why that post was deleted. !!
Wow talk about uneducated.

Anonymous said...

Meg,
I think you have it wrong. The OP isn't holding on to a nanny she should have fired a year ago. She is holding on to a nanny that "is a remarkable person. She is energetic, fun, trustworthy and treats our two children as if they are her own" but a nanny that she should have never hired in the first place. Grown ups don't develop this type of language over night. Shame on the OP for putting her and her children in this situation.

meg said...

I agree with you 2:17, excepting that I have friends who have sworn by "baby nurses" from other cultures. Their language was imperfect, but they sang lullabyes to the children, rocked them, held them, fed them and treated them with love for their term of service. Usually 2-6 months. If the OP hired her nanny early on, I can understand why she would have let the language thing slide. But now, it is time for her to go. It isn't the nannies fault and I hope OP treats her generously. As the nanny may fall into being the primary caregiver, depending on the total of hours the mother or father spend with the child, it is crucial at this juncture that the nanny be able to guide the children's educational development.

anonymous1 said...

Well, if you had a French nanny with a heavy accent, would your children start speaking English with a heavy French accent? I'm not sure there's a problem here.

paul the intern said...

Anonymous1,
Are you SERIOUSLY comparing a french accent to the practical use of ebonics?

Get real.

anonymous1 said...

I guess I am Paul. I spent a great deal of my childhood around my grandmother and grandfather who had extreme accents. They came from western Europe and their pronunciation of words and sentence structure was completely off. It never affected me. My mother, who was raised in that household speaks impeccable English. Evidently other other influences can offset any damage this kind of communication can do.

lorenza said...

FYI: about Ebonics

Dialects
African American English

African American English (AAE) is a dialect of American English used by many African Americans in certain settings and circumstances. Like other dialects of English, AAE is a regular, systematic language variety that contrasts with other dialects in terms of its grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary.
Terms for African American English

The terms used by scholars to refer to the unique language variety of many African Americans reflects the changing terms used to refer to African Americans themselves across the decades. Early studies of AAE in the 1960s used the terms Negro speech, Negro English, or Negro American dialect. Starting around 1970 and continuing throughout the decade, the preferred term was Black English or Black English Vernacular (BEV). In the mid-1980s African-American became the preferred term for black Americans, and by 1991 linguists were using the term African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Today African American English (AAE) is the generally accepted term, although AAVE is still used too.

The term Ebonics (a blend of ebony and phonics) gained recognition in 1996 as a result of the Oakland School Board’s use of the term in its proposal to use African American English in teaching Standard English in the Oakland Schools. The term was coined by Robert Williams in 1973, but it wasn’t until the Ebonics controversy that Ebonics became widely used. Most linguists prefer the term African American English as it aligns the variety with regional, national, and sociocultural varieties of English such as British English, Southern English, Cajun English, and so forth.
Is AAE a language, a dialect, slang, or just plain bad English?

AAE is a systematic language variety, with patterns of pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and usage that extend far beyond slang. Because it has a set of rules that is distinct from those of Standard American English, characterizations of the variety as bad English are incorrect; speakers of AAE do not fail to speak Standard American English, but succeed in speaking African American English with all its systematicity. Linguists are less concerned with whether or not AAE is a language or a dialect (terms that are more important socially and politically than linguistically) than with recognizing the systematic nature of AAE.
Resources

African American English Bibliography


AAE Online Resources
Click here for a page of links to resources on AAE on the web.

AAE in literature

CAL Digests related to AAE
Chiristian. 1997. Vernacular Dialects in U.S. Schools
Foster. 2002. Using Call and Response
Fasold. 1999. Ebonic need not be English

erics mom said...

When you interviewed her didn't you hear the way she spoke?

paul the intern said...

Lorenza, why are you celebrating ebonics?

Do you realize the true evolution of ebonics in American grammar? Recognized as a manner of speaking that clearly illuminated the uneducated black male, ebonics was created to attempt to keep black and white American separate. White Americans were threatened by the black Americans who had been granted more susbtantial educational opportunities and were beginning to sound- gasp- just like Americans. Skin Color, be damned. We must find something discordant and coercive, something to keep the man down. Yes, too many black Americans having secured admittance into more and more avenues of society were opening their mouths and their wonderfully poignant words were raining down on white America.

Wait let’s go back. Ebonics was first recognized in America in the 1800's when African slaves were first brought to America. These slaves did not speak standard English because they were not taught to do so. They spoke a form of what some people now call Ebonics, because they did not know any better, but African Americans in today's school systems have been taught better and should know better.
But to stifle the advancement of black Americans, ebonics was shoved down our throats. They had committees meet and determine that Ebonics should be taught in school because, basically black Americans were incapable of learning any other way. Can you comprehend how insulting that is?

In Martin Luther's speech, I Have a Dream, and in his writings such as, Letter From Birmingham Jail, I do not find one word of what may be deemed improper English or Ebonics. If Martin Luther King could speak and write this clearly without the aid of Ebonics to bridge the gap, this must surely dispel any theory of the speaking of bad English being genetically connected to African Americans. I believe that if he could hear the arguments supporting Ebonics he would roll over in his grave. I do not think Ebonics was part of his dreams for black Americans; he hoped for educational boundaries to be broken not re-created as Ebonics has the potential of doing
The list of prominent figures in society who oppose Ebonics includes Jessie Jackson who openly speaks on television broadcast shows and in various publications about his contempt for Ebonics.

If I could diagram the state of affairs for you, I would. I will tell you that in the 90’s, ebonics was being abandoned and dying out, only to be brought back alive by Black American gangster rappers. There is argument behind who profited by these black rappers, on paper, many of the profits were initially not amassed by the rappers themselves, but by their managers and producers who were white. The white man then was able to profit doubly, both by dispersing the message of unskillful and ignorance that ebonics boasts. Black men were now revealed to the world as gun toting, drug dealing, womanizing, murderers and gangsters. And black female Americans were systematically promoted as whores, prostitutes, drug dealers, drunks and abusive mothers.

I don’t know what provoked you to cut and paste your material on this website, but I hope you get in touch with your higher power and solicit the command to love all people. This is a subject that many Black Americans have spoken out about this very subject, even recently. Alicia Keyes was a little too open when she told Blender magazine: "'Gangsta rap' was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. 'Gangsta rap' didn't exist."

Parents, are your children buying this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygzGA37UWgs) stuff? Why? I’m sorry, I think one tangent overtook another.

One person I am quite enamorate of is Newark’s Mayor Corey Booker who said when he decided to mentor two black youths who threatened to take his life, "'And you have to speak proper English. I can't deal with the double negatives and the slang. You have to speak the English of Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington.'"

But back to ebonics, ebonics is a cancer that must be sent into permanent remission by the clear and coherent voices of Americans.

Anonymous said...

When you interviewed her, if you did not hear her talk like this it means that she is capable of talking correctly. Now that she has the position, she has reverted to something she is used to. You need to talk to her and ask her to use standard English when talking to them and when talking in their presence. I have a few dialects and know there is a time and place for them. There are certain people who use their English dialects any time any place regardless whether the listener understands or not. I think this is rude.When we work with children, we are supposed to model.We speak well, they will speak well. I took care of a little girl who is now eight. She has a very rich vocabulary,is an excellent reader and she speaks very well. Her parents played a great part and I could not fall short.

Anonymous said...

Paul the intern is full of it. I appreciate Lorenza's posting some information about language from the people who study it scientifically, namely linguists. Linguists grow frustrated with people who believe they are experts on language simply because they speak one (like, um, everyone else on the planet).

One important thing to realize in this situation is that children can become bi-dialectal just like they can become bilingual. The 'worst' that would happen in this situation is that OP's kids might use similar linguistic elements (e.g. simplified final consonant clusters) in the presence of Nanny or others who speak like her. And around Parents who speak standard American English, they would not use those elements.

I do agree that if Nanny is herself functionally bidialectal, she could be politely asked to use standard American English in the kids' presence.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 4:14 pm. If your kids learn a few dialectal expressions this is certainly not going to hinder their intellectual development, which depends more on the love and positive reinforcement they get from their caregivers than on hearing "correct" English. Children are eminently adaptable. They will speak correctly when you or their grandparents or their teachers require it of them. So I would not worry about it.

Anonymous said...

And I realize I did not answer your question, but if it makes you feel better you can rephrase the child's sentence (but not in a "do not say "this", say "that"" fashion, you will drive yourself and your child nuts otherwise) just so you make sure that he also hears your way of saying it. And you should talk to the nanny if it really bothers you personally, because otherwise it is going to grow on you, and you will not appreciate her as much. If she is as remarkable as you make it, she should be able to take it, if you do not come down all haughty and superior to her, I am not saying she will change overnight (maybe she will, though), but at leasy you will have got it off your chest.

Anonymous said...

I was recently having a discussion with a mom who used to be a nanny and we were talking about parents who use baby talk to talk back to their children. We both felt that it wasn't the best idea as children tend to pick up on what others say and take it as their own. Rather than learning the correct pronunciation of words, they continue to use the less advanced forms.

I think this is somewhat similar. If they are around a person enough, they will learn from them and their mannerisms/speaking habits/etc.

It sounds as if you have a great relationship with your nanny. This leads me to believe that you would be able to sit her down and mention your concerns to her. You want your children to speak correctly and there is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps just ask her to make more of an effort when she is speaking around and/or to them.

I am curious as others are, if you noticed her way of speaking when you interviewed her or if this is something recent?

pissed said...

Well of course Alicia Keyes had to deny her comment. Does she want to go by the way of Biggy Small or Tupac?

Rap has set back black culture 20 years. Look at f---ng Akon in the news:

t also is revealed that the Grammy Award winner was arrested for stealing just one BMW.

In that case, he was detained in Atlanta for several months before prosecutors dropped all charges against him.

In the story, titled "Akon's Con Job," SmokingGun stated: "Akon's ad nauseum claims about his criminal career and resulting prison time have been, to an overwhelming extent, exaggerated, embellished, or wholly fabricated.

"Police, court, and corrections records reveal that the entertainer has created a fictionalized backstory that serves as the narrative anchor for his recorded tales of isolation, violence, woe, and regret. Akon has overdubbed his biography with the kind of grit and menace that he apparently believes music consumers desire from their hip-hop stars."

Okay, so you weren't all that bad, but you had to make yourself even more bad ass to appeal to who? Or is it to sell out black america?

Anonymous said...

I feel angry at you, OP. I can't believe this nanny "hid" her manner of speech when you interviewed her. I suspect she's not well-educated, or she speaks in the manner or the dialect of where she's from...not exactly a crime, ya know?, and yet YOU hired her. Why?...did she come cheap? Now, all of a sudden, her goodness as a person and a nanny aren't "good enough" for you! There are GREAT nannies with different accents and pronounciation who provide excellant care for children around the world, and have for centuries, I might add. Let the nanny be who she is, as long as she, as you stated, loves your children "as if they were her own". Spend some time with your own kids and correct whatever mis-pronounciations they may pick up from nanny, but for decency's sake, remind your kids how lucky they are to have a nanny who loves them!!!! Treat this woman WELL!

marypoppin'pills said...

OP, your Nanny didn't suddenly start to speak like this overnight. It must've come out during the Interview process, yet you hired her anyway.

You either felt that it didn't matter at the time because the kids were young enough that it wouldn't influence them, or you just found yourself with a really great bargain. Whatever the reason, you can't just fire her now because of it. That's not fair, especially if everything else about her is wonderful.

Hopefully you spend enough time with your kids that whatever "slang" they pick up from their Nanny, you can correct it.

cali mom said...

Lorenza, then I suppose we should be teaching students in American public school to speak with a heavy Swedish or French accent, rather than Standard American, because we must "celebrate" and "respect" their ethnic backgrounds? What a load of Ebonics.

OP, I agree that if YOU are spending ample time with your own children, and actually SPEAKING with them on a regular basis, you can simply demonstrate the correct pronunciation for them and explain that some people speak with different accents but this is the CORRECT way to pronounce these words. But you will most likely have to find a new nanny by the time your kids are old enough to need help w/their homework, because someone's verbal literacy is most definitely an indication of their written literacy level.

Anonymous said...

I gather most of you did not grow up around relatives with heavy foreign accents. All of my extended family had very heavy accents, including my highly educated parents, and it did not negatively impact my pronunciation or grasp of English grammar as a child. The OP's child may mimic some sounds or speech patterns of her nanny now (as I spoke English with a slight foreign accent until I began attending nursery school), but it will not last in the long run. Sheesh, you knew how she spoke and what she sounded like when you hired her in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, my parents both have very thick accents and my English turned out perfectly. I didn't even realize that the way they spoke was "foreign" until one of my friends pointed it out to me in the fifth grade. It was even funnier when callers would ask who the American kids in the house were. I am incredibly proud of my parents. The culture I received from them really enriched my learning experience, and didn't detract from my education in the least despite the "funny" way they talked. As an Ivy League grad, I had plenty of friends growing up in similar situations as 1st or second generation immigrants. Being exposed to different cultures is almost always good. So don't knock it. To pretend that growing up in a house with only traditional American English speakers is incredibly elitist, not to mention annoying, especially when its totally based on subjective perceptions. My cousins who grew up in England make fun of the "American" accent all the time and like to mention how we don't speak English properly.

rachel said...

Wow, I can just sit back and count the number of women responding who employ illiterate women who can't speak correctly to take care of their children. There is no defense for this. The language in question is not a real language but the language of lazy people, a language of the street. You are ridiculous to think having someone who mispronounces words around a developing child isn't going to affect the child. Will it ruin the child for life? No, it will not. But just remember down the street, there is a mother who hired an educated person to take care of her children and that child has so many more advantages than your child.

Ridiculous.

A language or accent doesn't make you sound like an ignorant fool, but ebonics sure does.

a texas nanny said...

I skimmed long enough to see that someone had mentioned African American English (AAE)...

I am a Communication Sciences and Disorders major with a focus on Speech Language Pathology and Audiology. I have learned in several Speech/Language classes that AAE is a DIALECT reflecting an American culture, it is not a speech delay, disorder, or impediment; it is not considered slang. If I felt like searching through old notes I could find most of those words as examples of AAE. If I remember correctly, AAE is a mix of the English language sometimes using word order as well as phonemes from African languages. I understand where you are coming from because to me it does just sound like improper English and is often referred to as "lazy English" but it isn't; it is in fact a legitimate dialect. Fun fact- it has been shown in recent studies that black children who speak AAE have higher self esteem and a higher sense of belonging.

If your nanny had a British accent and used British idioms, etc. and your children started picking up her way of speech, would you have the same problem? Just curious... I am by no means calling you racist, especially since you praised the nanny in your post, I just think it is interesting that certain dialects (i.e. Southern, Texas, AAE, etc.) cause the speaker to be looked down upon or thought to be classless/simple and others make people think the speaker is classy, intellegent, etc.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of WHY the nanny speaks the way she does, it is appropriate to gently correct your child, whether the nanny is present or not. The trick is to do this in a way that doesn't demean or make your child feel incompetent.

I have a 5 year-old who has been in speech therapy for about a year now. His caregivers always spoke properly around him, but he had other issues with his speech. His speech therapists both said that the best way to correct his mistakes is to repeat what he said using the correct pronunciation. For example, if he said, "I need to go to the bafroom," I would reply, "You need to go to the bathroom? Okay, let's go to the bathroom." I would also put a little extra emphasis on the sound that needed to be corrected (the "th" in bathroom).

You know whether you want to keep your nanny or search for another one. You know the quality of her work and whether you approve of the job she is doing or not. If this is a deal breaker for you, then do what you need to do. If this is something you are willing to work with, I wish you luck.

You may discuss this at your child's next well baby check up (or call if that won't happen for a while). The doctor can help you determine what is appropriate for this age and what the best way to proceed for your child is.

Best wishes!

24 said...

I would tell your children that people come from different countries and that although their beloved Nanny speaks with one accent,that you would like them to use the same pronunciations that you do.Work with them,they're adaptable.My charge speaks with my accent and his parents accept the fact that in his life,he is going to meet people from all over the world.If you employ a Nanny from a different country,then be a little more open.Peace.

undercover regular said...

How about we just ask OP:

Does your nanny have an accent?
or
Does she speak in slang?
But knows proper English?
or
Is she just uneducated?

I'm sure it would answer a lot of our questions.

fg said...

There is a course on Ebonics taught at Arizona University. Think what you will about it, but it is taken quite seriously by a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

Racist, racist, racist OP trying to disguise her racism by appearing to be clueless about the fact that her nanny has a dialect different from her own.
Look, if you want a British accent around the house, hire a British nanny.
Brooklyn accent? Hire an NYC nanny.
A Scottish accent? Email Scottish nanny agencies.
Perhaps you'd care for a Chinese nanny? She may be able to teach your child Mandarin...if you dare insult your nanny rather than being grateful for the wonderful job she's doing, you deserve to lose her!
I think I know where to look if I want an employer with a whiny, elitist "accent" *pointing right at you*

Anonymous said...

I think it's a stretch to call OP a racist. If she were, she wouldn't have hired this Nanny to begin with.

I do think however, that she knew when she interviewed her that she had this slang, or accent and that something like that (from the way OP describes) - would be too hard to conceal. This Nanny was probably a good deal, and since the babies were to young to be influenced, OP didn't care.

But now that her children are older, she probably regrets the hiring, but actually doesn't want to let her go because she IS so good with the kids.

This is something OP is just going to have to work out, but calling her a racist was going too far, 6:34.

I am so tired of that card being pulled every time someone sees an opportunity.

Anonymous said...

I am a black woman of African descent. My grandparents used some of that language, but my parents were very insistent in using proper English. For that, I am grateful because it is never going to be accepted as a language, nor should it. Why would anyone suggest the comment that black children who speak with that dialect have a better sense of self or self esteem? You most certainly should be ashamed of yourself. That would only be possible if the child stayed centered in one circle where everyone spoke the same way. I prefer to side with the great Black leaders who are eloquent and poised and strive to encourage our community to become educated and articulate. This language is regressive and we need to move forward, not backwards.

OP said...

I am the OP of this post.

First, I want to thank you for all of your comments and concern.

Now, to clear up a few things:
-Our nanny is nearing fifty years of age.

-Our nanny dresses like a librarian and carries herself very well.

-Our nanny has become more and more comfortable with us over the past months. During her interview, she was very shy. She answered everyone question we put to her simply and thoughtfully.

-Our nanny is an American and is paid on the books. Our nanny is paid $625.oo per week.

-If I said she was wonderful, I didn't say enough.

-It has never crossed my mind that we would get rid of her.

Finally, as I mentioned, my child is picking up on some of her vocabulary. It isn't an enormous deal but I do want my children to speak properly. Just the same, I posted my question on this blog because I wanted to know the best way to do this. My intention was not to offend this lovely woman.

Of the ideas suggested, I liked idea suggested by 24. I think I will take it one step further and just sit down and tell the nanny that we are having or have had that conversation with our 2 year old. This will let her know that we are aware of the language, it is not the language we want our child to speak but we do not expect her to change her vocabulary.

Anonymous said...

FG,
Would you want your children or grandchildren speaking ebonics?

fg said...

to promote understanding of something is completely different than encouraging it.

chick said...

OP, thanks for the update.

I think that if you speak with your nanny about this issue you will be starting the end of your relationship with her. In your place, I would say NOTHING to nanny.

Why? Because an older american (born?) black woman is likely to feel damn insulted to be told she speaks badly. Actually, ANY person would be insulted, be they brown, pink, purple, or pale.

Instead, concentrate on
gentle "correction" of your child(ren) when they use a pronounciation you dislike. IOW, if your 2.5 yo says "I ax nanny to go to the liberry!", echo him back with correct pronunciations and gentle emphasis on the "wrong" words. "You are going to ASK nanny to go to the LIBRARY? That's great!"

You can do this sort of correcting in or out of the nanny's presence without causing hurt feelings, because YOU speak precise american english. If nanny thinks anything, she'll think you are encouraging your child(ren) to talk MORE, not "better" than nanny talks.

And, frankly, most 2.5 yo's slur/mispronounce some words. I don't see this as a huge deal, and truly believe your kid(s) will grow out of this phase.

Good luck! Please update us when you have a chance!

Anonymous said...

Who said she was going to tell the nanny she spoke badly? She was going to say differently, ie lending no doubt to the same thing as in A french grandmother might say the word toilet differently.

FG,
you are on my last nerve.

Anonymous said...

The person that came up with Ebonics and labled it African American English was an idiot(be the person black or white or yellow). The phrases that are said to be used as African American English are not at all just used by a certain race of people. Most slang comes from a persons surroundings and the area or region that they grow up in. Many people from the south, black and white use a certain dialect that many of you northerners would consider improper American english or as the first poster stated "simple". The term African American in itself is an idiotic name to call a group of people who's origin comes from all around the globe. Most every person here should then be labeled something else followed by the term American. It's amazing how in this day in time so many people still think that they can just group certain people and label them to be what they want them to be.

Jess said...

144-
Word!

Anonymous said...

"for shizzle!"

^^^^^
O.k. - anybody? what about that? what do we call that stuff? I never understand it when I hear it spoken!

Anonymous said...

10:58,

Texans have an accent? Hmmm, no one I know does, and I live in Houston, Texas. I've never heard a Texan accent. The accent you hear is movies is a Louisiana accent, not Texas. There is no such thing as a Texan accent.

sprak said...

yes, (native) Texans have accents. Different parts of Texas have different accents. It can be a very irritating accent, dependent upon which part of Texas the speaker originates from.

Anonymous said...

I'm a native Texan, born and raised. So are my Mom and Dad, grandparents, great grandparents, on down the line. NO ONE I know has an accent. I have never in my life heard a Texan accent. As a PP said, in movies where there are cowboys and such, that accent is NOT Texan, it is a Louisiana accent, which as you know is a neighboring state to Texas. Many Louisiananians move to Texas, and when people hear their accent, assume it's the Texan accent they hear in movies.

sprak said...

You are so wrong. I know a lot of Texans, all of whom have accents. They don't have Louisiana accents because they come from Texas, just as people born in Chicago and the surrounding area have distinctive Chicago accents. Accents develop and are derived from those who settled there originally and what they brought with them in the way of dialect. Eventually it melds together to become the accent of the particular area.

sprak said...

Gee, anonymous 6:36,
It's a wonder that the Hollywood Producers of Hud and Giant didn't seek your family's advice on how to have the actors speak in their films, seeing as you and all your family as well as everyone you've encountered in Texas have NO accents. Get real.


Drawl or Nothin’

Is Texan a Thing of the Past?
Is the beloved Texas accent disappearing? Nope, y’all. According to Pamela Colloff, it’s hotter than a two-dollar pistol.

“See, I was workin’ as an actor in Hollywood,” said Bob Hinkle. He grinned under his white straw hat as he told me the story of how his twang, which is pure West Texas, had changed the course of his life. “It was 1955, an’ I had gone on an audition fer a part in Giant. Well, the very next day I git a call that George Stevens, the director, wunts to see me agin. So I go back over to Warner Brothers, an’ his sec’tary says, ‘Mr. Hinkle is here.’ An’ George Stevens runs out the door an’ grabs my hand like we was ol’ buddies. Well, I start hyperventilatin’ ’cuz I jus’ knew he was fixin’ to give me the part of Jett Rink. See, I was perfect—I’m a Texan, I kin ride a horse, an’ I talk raht, yew know. But George has a diff’rent idea. He says to me, ‘Kin yew teach Rock Hudson to talk like yew do?’ An’ I say, ‘Whut? I been goin to a speech coach tryin’ to loose this accent ’cuz I cain’t git work.’”

In the fifties and sixties Bob Hinkle taught Hollywood how to talk Texan. On the sets of Giant and Hud, he read dialogue to Rock Hudson, James Dean, Dennis Hopper, Paul Newman, and Patricia Neal until they could mimic his pronunciation: Barbed wire became “bob wahr,” a dime was “tin cints,” the petroleum industry was the “all bidness,” His accent has its own topography, a landscape of flat a’s, dropped g’s, and rounded o’s, where syllables rise up without warning, as in “He was playin’ the gui-tar,” and vowels stretch on forever. He does not have the soft, musical drawl of East Texas or the more clipped rhythm of Central Texas, but the flat, nasal twang that is typical of his hometown of Brownfield, south of Lubbock. James Dean was the best at imitating his slow, lazy cadence, and the way Dean meandered around his consonants and lingered over his vowels until words like “bad” stretched into “bay-uhd” and “kid” became “kee-uhd” made women weak in the knees. “ I told Jimmy whut I’ll tell yew,” Hinkle said. “In Texas, yew don’t say near as many words, but yew git it said, an’ yew slow it down to where people kin understan’ it.”

The Texas accent is actually spreading
I had tracked Hinkle down after reading about a study, conducted by University of Texas at San Antonio linguistics professor Guy Bailey, that found that the Texas accent is actually spreading. Bailey discovered that the use of the flattened vowel sound that makes “night” sound like “naht” —a key marker of the Texas twang—is expanding across all socioeconomic groups, most dramatically among people who are thirty and younger. Just as surprising, in an era when media saturation and urban living are the norm, regional phrases like “y’all” and “fixin’ to” are becoming more popular among Texans, not less. Add to these developments all the attention that the twang is garnering now that Dubya is in the White House, and the Texas accent hasn’t been this cool since, well, arguably since James Dean ambled over to Elizabeth Taylor in Giant and said, “Yew shore do look purty, Miss Leslie.” Over lunch this spring in Dallas, I asked Bob Hinkle, now 72 and retired from a quirky career in show business (he was Evel Knievel’s promoter), about the twang. While there is no one Texas accent, he explained—people who grew up in Beaumont, say, sound different from Amarillo natives—he attempted to clarify what makes a Texan sound like a Texan.“Well, yew know, a Southern accent is real syrupy,” Hinkle said. “Southerners say ‘mutuh’ an’ ‘fathuh.’ A Texas accent is harder. Yew keep the r. Yew say ‘muther’ an’ ‘father.’ Yew kin always tell a Texan by that. An’ yew flatten out words. See, take the word ‘fahr.’ How do yew spell ‘fahr’?”

“‘Fahr’?” I said. “F-a-r.”

He grinned. “Shore, it’s f-a-r. But it’s also f-i-r-e. ‘Look, that damn house is on fahr.’ ‘How fahr is it over there?’ See, it’s the same word.” He chuckled to himself.

“Are there other things you’d tell an actor to do?”

“Well, yew shorten thangs, so yew make ’em easier to say,” he observed. “Do you remember in Giant, when Jimmy’s [Dean] all well comes in? He comes up on the porch an’ he says to Rock Hudson. ‘I’m a rich’n Bick.’ Well, he’s really sayin’, ‘I’m a rich son of a …, Bick.’ See, yew kinda slur yer words together: ‘I’m a rich’n.’ Yew shorten it, an’ then yew slow it down.” Hinkle paused to reflect on this point. “Now, I’m jus’ shootin’ from the hip here, but it’s also the way yew talk about thangs. Like him,” he said, motioning toward a man wearing a gimme cap. “Yew’d say he was a purty good ol’ boy. Or if he’s not, yew might say, ‘That ol’ boy raht there is as crooked as a snake with the cramps.’ Now do yew git it?” I suppose I was getting there.

The Texas accent is a Southern accent with a twist
“The most basic explanation of aTexas accent is that it’s a Southern accent with a twist,” said Professor Bailey, who has determined that the twang is not only spreading but also changing. “It’s the twist that we’re interested in.” The preeminent scholar on Texas pronunciation, Bailey hails from southern Alabama; he has a soft lilting drawl that, for the sake of economy, will not be phonetically reproduced here but is substantially more genteel and less nasal than Bob Hinkle’s twang. The broadly defined “Texas accent” began to form, Bailey explained, when two populations merged here in the mid-nineteenth century. Settlers who migrated from Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi brought with them what would later become the Lower South Dialect (its drawl left an imprint on East Texas), while settlers from Tennessee and Kentucky brought with them the South Midland Dialect (its twang had a greater influence in West Texas). Added to the mix of Anglo settlers from the Deep South and Appalachia who began talking to each other was an established Spanish-speaking population and an influx of Mexican, German, and Czech immigrants. “What distinguishes a Texas accent the most is the confluence of its influences,” said Bailey.

But exactly what sets the Texas accent apart is what Bailey and his wife, Jan Tillery, a fellow linguist at UTSA, are trying to pin down. Until they have completed the fieldwork for a study called the National Geographic Survey of Texas Dialects—which examines the speaking habits of Texans in every last nook and cranny of the state—they will identify only the “monophthong” as the key indicator of a Texas accent. Bob Hinkle’s merging of “fire” and “far,” for instance, is a monophthong. Bailey and Tillery are also interested in the way Texans articulate other vowels. The “vowel merger” is a blending of vowel sounds, so that words like “win” and “when” start to sound alike, as do “cot” and “caught,” “feel” and “fill,” and so on. More and more Texans are now blurring their vowels together this way, particularly those born after 1972. “There are three kinds of vowel systems,” Bailey explained. “In New York, you have the Northern Cities Chain Shift,” which makes ‘bad’ sound like ‘bid’ and ‘dog’ sound like ‘dooaug.’ In the South, you have the Southern Shift, which makes ‘wait’ sound like ‘wuhate.’ And in much of the West, you have the Third Dialect, which is characterized by the merger of the vowel in ‘caught’ and ‘cot.’ In Texas you have a combination of the Southern Shift and the Third Dialect. That’s what makes Texas distinct.”

Bailey began to notice Texans’ use of the monophthong in 1989, when he tacked several linguistic questions onto the Texas Poll, a wide-ranging phone survey that asks people about their political preferences, buying habits and so forth. By studying respondents’ word pronunciations in the surveys, which were recorded, along with their demographic information, Bailey made several unexpected discoveries. He was not surprised to find that the dialect was slowly changing, since such shifts are given in linguistics; accents, like slang, are not static, but evolve along with a region and its culture. (Accents can change so rapidly, Bailey notes, that had Scarlett O’Hara actually existed, she wouldn’t have spoken with what we now recognize to be a Southern accent.) But what was startling was that Texans’ word pronunciation, by and large, was not moving toward a national norm. Beyond the suburbs and the state’s largest cities—which are populated by many nonnative Texans—younger people living in mid-sized cities like Lubbock and Beaumont sounded as regional as their rural counterparts.
robert macneil with texas cowboys at restaurant

Bailey has a theory about why Texans use monophthongs more than they used to and why phrases like “y’all” and “fixin’ to” have not just persisted but become more common in recent years. His theory stems from the results of the 1989 telephone survey, in which respondents were also asked how they felt about living in Texas. Bailey was intrigued to find that those who described the state as an “excellent” place to live were five times more likely to use monopthongs as residents who characterized it as “poor.” Of course, people who are proud to be Texan are proud to talk like Texans. But Bailey sees it as no coincidence that people are now, more than ever, claiming their Texan identity through language, whether that choice is a conscious or unconscious one. “The Texas identity is threatened,” he said. “There was a large influx of people who moved here in the seventies. Oil was big, and the auto industry and the Rust Belt were on the decline. Suddenly, in the seventies, Texas attracted many new residents from outside the state. The arrival of so many outsiders can make people circle the wagons, linguistically.”

Perhaps the best example of a Texan who defines his identity through language is George W. Bush, whose parents and siblings do not speak with the same heavily inflected speech that he does. Bush first left Midland at the age of fifteen, attending prep school at Andover, college at Yale, graduate school at Harvard, and vacationing in Kennebunkport. Yet his West Texas twang has stuck over the years, and it seems to have grown thicker since he moved into the White House. (Case in point: his pronunciation of “America,” which comes out sounding like “Amur-cah” or sometimes just “Mur-cah.”) President Bush emphasizes his connection to Texas through his language,” Bailey said. “It’s a way of anchoring himself to this place. He can use language to set himself apart, say, from Northeastern intellectuals, like LBJ did, or to bind himself to the state he identifies with.” In that respect, Bush is little different from many of the Texans whose speech Bailey has studied who strongly identify with this state. “If you like Texas a lot, you might wear a pair of boots,” Bailey observed. “You might drive a truck, and you might learn how to two-step. Language is another kind of accoutrement.”

What makes Texans sound like Texans?
The quest to understand what makes Texans sound like Texans led, late in the afternoon on Good Friday, to a beauty parlor in the town of Helotes (population: 4,285), just northwest of San Antonio. At the suggestion of Bailey and Tillery, two graduate students in linguistics, Amanda Aguilar and Brooke Ehrhardt, had taken their tape recorders to Ella’s Barber and Beauty Salon. Ella’s is a bright, cheerful place on the main drag where locals share the latest gossip beneath the bubble dryers and where the talk that day was of the upcoming corn festival, Cornyval. Amanda and Brooke, who were conducting fieldwork for the National Geographic Survey of Texas Dialects, had come to record the speaking styles of the three generations of women who work at the beauty parlor: Ella Dunford, who is 80; her daughter, Carol Lancaster, 48; and her granddaughter, Kimberly Lancaster, 29. Once the beauty salon’s last customers had had their hair blown dry and styled for church on Easter Sunday, the linguists turned on their tape recorders.

“ “What do you usually call the kind of bread you sometimes eat for breakfast—the ones where you make a batter and stack them on top of one another and garnish them with butter and syrup? Brooke asked Carol. (The possibilities listed on the survey, which only Brooke could see, were “flapjacks,” “griddle cakes,” “fritters,” “flitters,” “pancakes,” and “other.”)

"Pancakes,” said Carol.

“Have you heard ‘flitter’ used for ‘pancake’?”

“No.”

“What about the expression ‘Flat as a flitter’?”

“Oh, yeah, all the time!” Carol said with sudden recognition. ‘Flat as a flitter.’ Yeah. That’s pretty flat!”

“Yew say, ‘Flat as a flitter’?” her daughter said, rolling her eyes. “Yew’re real country.”

The National Geographic Survey of Texas Dialects, which was designed, in part by Bailey and Tillery, will determine how the Texas dialect differs from one part of the state to another and how it is changing over time. For the purposes of the survey, the state has been divided into 116 grids; in each grid, linguists will interview four native Texans of different generations about their vocabulary and pronunciation. When completed, it will be the most comprehensive study of the Texas dialect ever conducted. The survey will chart the rapid evolution of the way Texans talk, which was obvious at Ella’s, where all three women sounded Texan but different from one another. They all dropped their g’s and rounded their o’s but—since they are not native to West Texas—did not flatten out vowels as Bob Hinkle does. (At Ella’s, it’s a “thing,” not a “thang.”) Although the women’s pronunciation was, generally speaking, alike, there were huge variations in their vocabulary and knowledge of idiomatic expression. “The difference between Ella and Kimberly is astounding.” Brooke said later. “Their speaking styles are as informed by their generation—by the way their peers talk—as they are by the place where they’re from.”

“What on earth did you just say?”
For more than an hour, the three hairdressers sat in their styling chairs, next to the curling irons and hair spray and bobby pins that lay scattered around them, and answered the linguists’ questions, a bit uneasy with the scrutiny they were under. How did they say “pin” and “pen”? (The same: “pin.”) Were they familiar with Spanish words like “arroyo,” “lasso,” and “reata”? (Yes.) What did they call a soft drink? (Carol: “A soda.” Kimberly: “ A Coke, even if it’s Dr Pepper.”) Their responses were often followed by gales of nervous laughter or sidelong glances at each other, as if to imply, “What on earth did you just say?” Each woman’s speaking style was divergent from the next; Ella’s accent was influenced by the Spanish that her mother had spoken at home, while her daughter’s accent was not. And while Carol knew many of the older country sayings—a skunk was a “pole-cat,” and milk that about to turn sour was “blinky”—her daughter frowned at such folksy expressions. But Kimberly was in no danger of forgetting her linguistic roots; dressed the most “country” in a pink T-shirt, blue jeans, and boots, she spoke with a Texas accent that was just as pronounced as her mother’s or grandmother’s. To her, “night” was “naht,” “you” was “yew,” and an unwashed frying pan was still “greazy.”

When the linguists announced that the survey was done, the three women looked relieved—pleased, perhaps, that they had not been mocked for whatever it was that had caught the linguists’ attention in the first place. As we sat around afterward and talked, I asked if they thought there was such a thing as a Texas accent and if so, what it was.

“Well, I kin hear great big differences between West Texas an’ South Texas,” Carol said. “An’ in Dallas, oh, my gosh, they have a twang—big time!” Kimberly said, laughing.

“Yew know, yew always think, ‘Gosh, we don’t have accents, but I guess we do. We just don’t hear ’em,” Carol said. “ I don’t think we talk funny. But we went to Florida one time, an’ we were in an elevator, talkin’. An’ someone said, ‘Yew must be from Texas!’ An’ we said, ‘How kin yew tell?’”

cali mom said...

Chick, you always have very sensible advice and this thread is no exception.

Um, the Texan who insists there is no such thing as a Texas accent? Just because you are aurrounded by people who speak with the same accent as you doesn't mean others can't hear an accent. I've been told I have a California accent, and I don't hear much of any accent in myself when I speak, go figure. However, if I visit Ireland or Louisiana, guess what? I HAVE an accent. DUH. This is why we can say that GW Bush has a different accent than JFK. Because he does.

Anonymous said...

Everyone has an accent. If you and the people around you have the same accent, you consider anyone who speaks differently as having an accent. They in turn hear your speech, which is different from theirs, as an accent. How you speak IS your accent.

Anonymous said...

We DON'T have an accent. We just have some words that are shortened, such as nuthin, ya'll, etc. But none of it is said with an accent. An accent and language are 2 different things. All of the examples in your post were from movies. MOVIES! It's not real! We don't talk like cowboys here in Texas, as everyone seems to think. There are a few select people I've heard talk while in a store that talk like a cowboy, but it's a rare thing to hear.

cali mom said...

OK. So go to Boston and see how many people tell you that "you don't have an accent". Or Chicago. Or San Francisco.

fg said...

Hey defensive Texan,
I go to Texas all the time and have many friends from there. Texans have distinctive accents. And are you so obtuse that you haven't figured out that for movies that take place in different areas of the U.S., voice coaches are used to help the actors sound authentic.

marypoppin'pills said...

Sprak,
Thank you for such an interesting read!

"Giant" trailer, with James Dean

Janet E. said...

There is clearly a dif between speaking with an accent and speaking in a slang. Is it not better to help teach your kids to say you all than ya'll? etc my husband says ya'll all the time because he's born in louisiana. But... he knows when it's time to switch his way of speaking when in a professional environment. I'm sure it slips but the key is to let your child know what is really means/should be. And if he chooses to use it fine. Just make sure they know the dif and which is better.
Maybe the last crazy employer of mine was just getting to me with her obsessiveness. If that's the case.. just ignore me. hehe

Anonymous said...

Some of you people here are insane. Give up a nanny who is everything wonderful for a child because of bad diction??? Do you not read the other things that happen on this site? What if the next nanny is a well-spoken couch potato or worse???

My husband, who is a wonderful man and NOT AA, or from any Island, had poor pronunciation when we met. When we got serious, I spoke to him about it, and it turns out his family just spoke that way and never corrected him so I offered to. He was thankful and 21 years later we are happily married, he is a great father and his speech, though, better, is not impeccable. We love him anyway. :)

Also, a serious illness several years ago caused me to take a medicine that weakened teeth. I have since lost most of my teeth. I had to get prosthetic bridges as I was not a good candidate for implants. I still speak with a lisp which is not so noticeable now but was horrible in the beginning. Luckily, I interview with people who are far more understanding than some of you.

OP, I hope you don't let someone who you say is a wonderful caregiver go because of the way she speaks. Try to bring it up gently. And, instead of being generous maybe you could be generous and buy her some CDs to help her learn to speak properly. Or perhaps you just let it go and if you notice your children picking up those bad habits, you explain to your child that some people speak differently but the proper way to say a word is ..... This is what I did when my child began speaking in a heavy Spanish accent because her One on One aid in school spoke with one. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

It could be the case about dental problems that she may have. Or maybe, she needs speech therapy.

Do you offer her health benefits so she can see a specialist?

Anonymous said...

Take your extreme nanny support BS to Nanny network or Nanny Saviors are Nanny World. However lovely this woman is, she speaks like an uneducated person. That is bad.

As for health benefits, why would you ever offer health benefits to a nanny that isn't the full package. I am sorry but this is NOT a professional nanny and she doesn't deserve the perks that go along with being one.

Anonymous said...

12:18 you could not have said it better. We all have accents. When we talk around people who talk like us we are not aware of it. However, when we talk to other groups of people we hear their accents and they hear ours.

Anonymous said...

in my opinion, anon at 10:56 is correct: the problem as I see it is these women hiring nannies and then expecting them to change as a person after the fact.
what century are you all living in? you cannot in good concience think it is fine to ask someone to change their accent just because you don't think it sounds nice! just as an ESL student may hire an american teacher as opposed to a british one in order to get that "non-accent" right, so should OP have hired an american, educated nanny if speech and dialect were so important to her.
I have a theory that women hire nannies who are purposely not educated so that they can bitch and complain and feel superior to them. I have seen it before and I am sure I will continue to see it.
Now that I am a parent (former nanny here) I see how important it is to find someone loving, caring, capable and trustworthy with my child. to find that is amazing and if they say "bat" instead of "bath" I think it's a small price to pay if you have found a special person who takes great care of your kid.
again, if it's more important to you that your kid sound "educaaaaated" then hire a white, american, non-accent having nanny. simple as that.
god I hate you people. :(

Anonymous said...

fuqtard @201
Educated people can be White, Hispanic, Black and of any race or background. It's just important that they be, educated.

Many people hire a certain sort of person for newborns, but she is many times not nanny material. Perhaps OP grew to love this nanny and wants her to stay, even though she is not nanny material? Accept her shortcomings or not. But know there are many professional nannies out there, Black, Jamaican, Mexican American, Portuguese American, Chinese American, etc... All well spoken.

Anonymous said...

loser at 2:19:
I was being sarcastic.
My point was that OP sounds judgemental.
And you sound like an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Well you just came off sounding foolish.

Anonymous said...

sorry but I think that anyone who uses the term "fuqtard" sounds quite foolish themselves.

erics mom said...

If the nanny is working f/t, she should be offered health benefits. Even if she had to pay for a portion. Just because she doesn't "speak" properly doesn't mean shes so terrible to not be offered coverage. Everyone deserves coverage. Health coverage is not a perk, its a necessity!

The mom has her 7-9 hours a day. How bad can she be, if she entrust her with her children for all that time.

Kelly said...

Wow, don't know if this was already covered because I didn't read through all of the posts, but kids are not going to selectively pick up an 'incorrect' pronunciation especially if they are exposed to the 'correct' pronunciation more often. While you may feel better stressing the 'correct' pronunciation to your child, kids are not actually internalizing your corrections, but are gathering that information from their own experience and the speakers around them.

Also... everyone has an accent. If you think that you don't, you are dead wrong. There is no such thing as a 'standard English', just a ton of dialects (each with their own accents) of the English language! No big deal!

Sue said...

You have a big problem that's not being addressed.

You have a functionally illiterate nanny who is teaching your child things. Most likely wrong things.

I'm sorry to say that you'll surely churn out a couple of idiots hiring a nanny like that.

Who is going to read to them? Who is going to teach them the alphabet? Who will answer complex questions?

Stop hiring discount nannies and wondering why things aren't great.

I promise you any woman who can read would pronounce those words correctly.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a Portuguese speaking community. Guess what? Most of the kids I grew up with used a lot of those pronounciations while speaking. It doesn't have much to do with race. One you may have missed: does she say Valentimes Day? That one is my personal favorite.

I am sure if you have enough money to pay a nanny well, you would also send your children to a top school. Therefore, if your children have a wonderful, loving nanny who doesn't speak to your standards, I am sure it will all even out in prep school.

Then again, I'm also sure your kid will turn out just like that one from "Malibu's Most Wanted."

Rich people just have more money. GET OVER yourselves, pleeaase??

Anonymous said...

We all have different ways of speaking. If you are raised in Texas where everyone has a drawl and go to New York you will think they have the acccent. Personally I love accents Southern Or Northern or NY whatever. People who make fun of the Southern accent and think the people are stupid are truly not highly educated people if they were they would know that there are different dialects all over the world and it has nothing to do with their education. I remember many nannys when I was growing up down south that did not talk with the best of English,who cared? No one. We learned our skills in school not from our Nannies. Most of the caregivers were Black Ladies who lived in homes of their own or on the property. Nanies today are expected to do everything the parents is supposed to do. Potty train, homework, manners whatever .
I would hope that parents and teachers would have as much to do with how a child speaks as a nanny does.
If this Nanny has poor English skills help her. I also think that anyone who would deny a Nanny medical benefits because she does not speak correctly needs to take a good look at herself and maybe take inventory on her self. There is something lacking there.
I wouldn;t care if my nanny didn't speak the correct English, I would help her and as long as shje lvoes my children and is good to them I would be happy. I would definately help her because we would be lucky to have her.

chick said...

OP: "My question is this:
1) Do we correct this on our own with the child out of site of the nanny?"

When I re-read this entry, I noticed a spelling and usage error committed by OP, which kind of amused me, considering the subject matter.

OP, "site" - similar to a building site, a construction site, etc.

***sight*** - in view of

The view of the nanny matters not a bit, but the hearing range matters a lot here!

You actually meant to say "Do we correct this on our own with the child WHEN the nanny CANNOT HEAR US?", right???

And no, I am not just yanking your chain - simply gently pointing out that everyone makes errors when it comes to word usage, and word choice.

Anonymous said...

Chick,
Wow that was your most assholio-ish post to date. Making a typo error in an internet communication is common.

U r dum with a b

Anonymous said...

11:14 This always happens when a poster has nothing to cintribute to the post. They want tolook intelligent by critisizing someone elses spelling or grammar. Ignore it and may go back beneath its' rock.

chick said...

Good Lord, who peepee'd in your (respective) cornflakes 11:14/11:35?

I was making a gentle point. If I'd wanted to be harsh, I would have called OP ass-ish, and told her to crawl under her rock.

11:14, OP didn't make a typo, she incorrectly USED a word, and misspelled it as well.

Or hey, maybe OP's nanny does hear with her "site"?

11:35, I'll be kind enough to ignore your poor english abilities, OK?

Anonymous said...

Chick,
When someone is typing, transposing one word for another is still a typographical error.
Have you ever went to type had and typed have?

You sound positively batty tonight.

and finally,
"If I'd wanted to be harsh, I would have called OP ass-ish"

so, I guess you thought Jane was out of line, on her own blog???

FYI-This nanny would never work for me. I'm sorry but the English thing would have rubbed me wrong from the get go. And the nanny who wrote her bitter shit rant? I would have seen right through her phony exterior, set a trap for her and let her fall into it so when pressed to give her a reference, I could just release the tape.

And ensure she NEVER worked alone with children again.

So much riff raff in the nanny profession. Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that so many nannies commute to the UES, UWS and Westchester from the Bronx? Riff Raff Central?

sprak said...

to Chick:
you really seem to rub people the wrong way! By golly,I believe you've even outdone me in that department!

chick said...

Aww, Sprak! Such a fab compliment - I'm blushing!

sprak said...

Blushing? Really? I would never suspected you had that in you.

chick said...

Sigh...12:00 (aka 11:14?)

Chick,
When someone is typing, transposing one word for another is still a typographical error.
Have you ever went to type had and typed have?

---I try to re-read and correct my errors. I still argue that MISUSE of a word counts as more than a typographical error, but that's just me. Have you any references to style manuals that you could quote to defend your position?

You sound positively batty tonight.

---Off to hang upside down and eat bugs in a minute, that's me!

and finally,
"If I'd wanted to be harsh, I would have called OP ass-ish"

so, I guess you thought Jane was out of line, on her own blog???

---Nope. Not a bit. HER blog, HER right to make editorial comments. FTR, I agreed with Jane regarding that poster.

FYI-This nanny would never work for me. I'm sorry but the English thing would have rubbed me wrong from the get go. And the nanny who wrote her bitter shit rant? I would have seen right through her phony exterior, set a trap for her and let her fall into it so when pressed to give her a reference, I could just release the tape.

---Wow. High standards indeed, and just a touch of mafioso vengence for good measure!

And ensure she NEVER worked alone with children again.

---Never ever ever?

So much riff raff in the nanny profession. Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that so many nannies commute to the UES, UWS and Westchester from the Bronx? Riff Raff Central?

---Since I do not (and would never ever) live in NYC, I will decline to comment on your hate for people in the Bronx. Except to ask you if you are this bitc....snooty IRL?

Cheers!

chick said...

I'm an enigma wrapped in a secret Sprak, what can I say?

Layers and layers, just like an onion.

AND I can make people cry, also just like an onion.

sprak said...

Is it often your goal to make people cry, chic? just curious

chick said...

Nope, not at all. I'm actually quite nice. :-)

Christine said...

Poor grammar drives me crazy and I understand your concern 100%. However, I think it's totally appropriate to correct your nanny. She's a grown women and these are words and phrases she uses in casual conversation. Your kids' speech will change a lot as they grow, if they use "aks" or "baffroom" at 2, it doesn't mean that they will their entire lives. They will learn from you, other family members, teachers and friends. I think what you should do is enjoy the wonderful nanny you have found and model proper grammar when you speak to your children.