Our Readers' Opinions
April 19, 2016
Why do our children speak so badly?

EDITOR: For those of us born in the 60s or 70s, we were fortunate to have been blessed with excellent parents; but today, it’s drastically different. Compare the parents of that era to today’s parents. Many of us who was born in the 60s or 70s know about the upbringing by our parents – the majority of whom were strict; but the firmness was necessary.{{more}}

I took some time off to visit the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex where they held the Inter Secondary School Sports. I decided to take in some of the sporting activities, and while doing so I observed the attitude and behaviour of several of the students. There were hundreds of children at the event and the majority of them were nicely dressed. They formed themselves into small groups, so I decided to listen to some of their conversations. The majority of the conversations were very interesting, but some of the conversations were amazing and frightening. What really caught my attention was the manner in which they spoke.

The pronunciation I heard was very poor. I was extremely surprised. Imagine these are our children, who are expected to take us into the future. English is the language that is being taught in our schools, yet our children are speaking so badly. How can we help this situation? How can we ensure that our children improve the way in which they speak? Should we blame the education system or our teachers? When one listens to how the majority of Vincentians speak, you can tell that we are lagging behind in terms of how we speak.

One might say it’s our culture to speak dialect, but I disagree. It’s simply poor English and it isn’t getting us anywhere. Would it be fair to say that Vincentians don’t read enough, causing us to speak so badly? I honestly think that reading more often would definitely improve the manner in which we speak. So, I am encouraging all to read more often, but one may ask what should they read? My advice is to read anything you get your hands on. Another aspect that can enhance our speech is to listen very attentively and get involved in meaningful constructive conversation. Practise proper pronunciation of words; enhancing ones vocabulary is essential, so don’t be afraid to learn new words.

There are so many ways in which we can communicate with each other. It’s not necessary to speak dialect because your friends are speaking that way. I think we should make an extra effort to improve our English. We should practise using the correct words where they are to be used. We should start from our homes, churches, schools, colleges and in our communities. It is very important that we try to improve, because our children are in need of help with this aspect of their development. I am making an appeal to all Vincentians to help one another improve on this aspect. Listen, read, write, and that would ensure a growth in the way we speak. In my line of work, I’ve learnt that pronunciation of words is very important. Many would say that we understand each other… that may be true, but what about those who are unfamiliar with our dialect. I myself am familiar with the dialect, but I find it extremely difficult to understand sometimes. Let’s try our very best to improve our pronunciation – it will definitely help us.

Kingsley De Freitas