Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Battle Royal

On the way home from the pub last night I asked Little Jo if her mother had educated her about the letter h, as per the text I had sent Sister a few weeks ago. Sister knew I was right, but she had done nothing about the poor child's ill education.

R was no help and not supportive, mouthing off common usage. I prefer correct usage.

Sister said most of her students in her posh religious school say haitch. Well Sister, you do teach in a mick school. You don't have to have your own child condemned by posh people because she says haitch.

Once home I searched online for letter spelling and found it easily enough. I did not know e is spelt e. But certainly h is spelt aitch. Another screaming match with Little Jo as she tried to tell me it was haitch.

Her accent, influenced by Australian voices and media, along with English media accents and Canadian and American accents is quite ok. Her pronunciation is quite good.

But I simply will not have her saying haitch. If R was reading this, he would say I am a stupid old man living in the past. I had my hands beaten with a cane for saying haitch. The child will learn by convincing and understanding the written word. Her spelling is not quite good enough yet.


22 comments:

  1. 'ang in there, Andrew. You are habsolutely right on this issue.

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    1. H'ive never doubted myself FC.

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  2. Well, at least you don't believe in beating with a cane.

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    1. Mitchell, I think the cane is effective if you want children to behave through fear. I don't think we want that.

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  3. I can't bear poor grammar and poor spelling.

    But poor pronunciation is different. Yes it is irritating, but I am wary of saying anything about "haitch" because it was/is purely a Catholic issue. Noone wants to be seen as attacking one religion.

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    1. Hels, the haitch is perhaps more an Irish thing, spread here by nuns and priests in religious schools and churches. But I suspect it is now no longer a Catholic or Irish habit, but wide spread throughout the community.

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    2. Hels, at the Catholic "college" I attended we were subjected to weekly elocution lessons - the teacher despairing of our broad Orstralian vowel sounds.
      My ability to recite the Rosary with a Warrnamboolian French accent, however, has proven very useful over the years.

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  4. I think you're fighting a losing battle there. You are the only one who wants Little Jo to change. I think this should be enforced by the parents and if they are not concerned then you will have to put up with it, irritating as it is.

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    1. River, I think she will naturally drop her pronunciation in time. None of the rest of our family say haitch.

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    2. Perhaps you could write a letter to the school, anonymous if you like, and mention your concerns.
      Now that I know the rest of your family don't say Haitch, I think you have a better chance with little Jo.

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    3. River, I doubt she was taught it at school, but the school she correct it. Nothing is anonymous where Little Jo goes to school. They would know who sent it straight away. Sister volunteers there at times.

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  5. My biggest regret is that I wasn't taught pronunciation in the beginning (grade 6) so it's difficult for me now. I follow the IPA system and use Cambridge Dictionary for new words.

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    1. Tai, I don't know that system at all, although I have seen it. I must investigate the system I do know and compare.

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  6. I 'ave a 'cockney' mate who will never 'ave this problem :))

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    1. "See them all in Soho Square, dropping aitches everywhere." I see your point Grace.

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  7. I grew up learning aitch which I prefer but my kids have learned haitch from their local state school. Like you, my mother hates it and tries to teach them the "right" way but you're fighting a losing battle when all their teachers say haitch.

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    1. Jackie, yes I don't what her teachers would say. I would hope aitch. I am just amused at her certainty that Uncle is wrong and she is right.

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  8. @Jackie K; today's teachers don't seem to have been taught as well as teachers from our time. There just seems to be too much in today's curriculums to allow the time for details.

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    1. River, Sister and I were discussing this a while ago and queried how come Mother and her mother are and were so literate, with never a spelling mistake, good grammar and beautiful writing. Sister blames the crowded curriculum. A lot more time used to spent on spelling and grammar.

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  9. When I was a high school Engish teacher, my students endeavoured to convince me that my pronunciation of "ate" as "et" was a mistake. It seems that and "haitch" are both yielding to variants of "speak as you spell" (or, in the case of "haitch", "spell as you speak").

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    1. That's interesting Marcellous as I know you are not that old, yet I recall my grandparents saying et but no-one younger than that. Spell as you speak is interesting. I don't have a strong view on spelling, unlike pronunciation. My grandparents had a couple of other curious pronunciations. The way they said Italians, comes to mind.

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