One of the kids’ closest adult friends has a southern twang to her accent. In case you haven’t heard it, it often adds an additional syllable to words. “Well” becomes “Wayell.” “Cat” becomes “Cayat.”
My youngest picked up this accent, but shortened it up. Instead of “cat”, he says “kyat”. Actually, it’s almost “Keyat”.
Last night we were watching PBS before bed and the word “Cat” came up on the screen. The little guy sounded it out.
“C – ah – t, Cat. That says cat. Daddy, what’s a cat?”
“A cat?” I asked. “You know, a cat. Small, furry, says meow. A cat.”
“No,” he laughed. “Cyat has a Y in it.”
“No it doesn’t. Cat is C A T”
“Oh,” he said. “Then what’s Cyat?”
“It’s just how you say cat. Remember we talked about accents? That’s an accent. It’s saying a word a little differently than how other people say it.”
“Oh.” He looked very disturbed and serious.
“It’s okay,” I said. “You don’t have to keep saying it that way if you don’t want to. It’s up to you. Cyat or Cat. You can pick.”
That didn’t make him any happier.
I had never thought about accents and spelling in the early years. I wonder what other accents cause trouble? Do New England chldren have trouble understanding the difference between H and R?