Recently there was a spate of whinging in the letters page of the SCMP about employing Native English Teachers (NETs) with 'regional' accents. These letters usually took the form of Home Counties Englishmen aghast that anyone could understand the garbled vowels and forced consonants of anyone from north of Watford, west of Reading, or south of Guildford. In their minds, a 'regional' NET was either Rab C. Nesbitt, Worzel Gummidge or Jimmy Nail.Or even worse, American! The Horror!

They feared that impressionable young minds exposed to such regional accents would end up speaking like Glaswegian dockworkers and be tragically unable to communicate with anyone. Well, anyone other than Jimmy Sommerville, or Billy Conolly, presumably.

As an Irishman, I'm naturally blessed with the most mellifluous of accents and it's only fitting and natural that my children should follow my lead in pronounciation. (In English only; learning my Cantonese pronounciation would do them no favours.) I've figured that having an actual native speaker of English at home would render them immune from the worst excesses of language education.

Imagine then my consternation, imaginary reader, when Number One Daughter wreaked havoc on the perpendicular pronoun!

"Look at the new boy, fulled wuth drid", she recited one evening.

Kiwis! Yat ho lui had been contaminated by kiwis, a dreadful disease where the 'i' and the 'u' are swapped around in the brain. Extreme cases can lead to a spastic jerking movement known as hakka, which unfortunately has nothing to do with the pleasant lady who cleans our building.

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on November 28, 2006 1:27 PM.

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