Saturday, October 11, 2008

"It's Jonathan, mom, Jonathan"

My bilingual daughter has started correcting me when I pronounce some words in English. Especially when I talk about her little Kindergartner love, young mister Jonathan. Pronouncing "j" correctly is very important to her, her name starts with a "j" too. And the sound of "j", actually is more different between English and Swedish than you would initially think when not having really paid attention (more like "[dj]"?).

When I ask her if she played with Jonathan in school, pronouncing it more Swedish than English, she annoyingly answers me "It's Jonathan, mom, J-J-J-onathan" (she of course has never heard the named said in Swedish so she is assuming I'm saying it wrong).

I'm realizing I might have to start taking "advanced English pronunciations classes" unless the Daughter will claim me as useless. That she can do when she is 15, not 5...

7 comments:

Annika said...

Jomen jag VET!! Så där håller Karolina på ibland också...
Speciellt på ord som rail, mail etc...
Det är lite kul. Och det där med ett perfekt uttalat amerikansk "dj" ljud är ngt jag tror svenskar aldrig kan lära sig.

Anna, Fair and True said...

Nej, många gör ju fel på uttalet av "y" och "j" och ibland även "g" och uttalar allt likadant. Och t ex att man glömmer uttala g:et ordentligt i ett ord som "English".

Anna said...

En rolig historia från min dotters kindergartenår (dotterns namn börjar också på J).

Rekton kommer fram till min dotter och säger: Hi J..... (med starkt amerikanskt uttal på J:et).

Dottern: It´s J.... (med svenskt uttal).

Rektorn: Well, I know but I don´t know how to remember that.

Dottern: You know... In Swedish there is no J-sound (amerikanskt uttal) only the Ye-sound (svenskt uttal). If you think about that you might remember it.

Rektorn hade mycket svårt att hålla sig för skratt. Hon berättade historien för mig.

Christina said...

My mother was from Värmland and her 'j' always sounded more like a 'y' to my American ears.

Sadly, I don't speak Swedish but my daughter and I are both hoping to remedy that -- or at least get a start -- with Rosetta Stone. Swedish is not an easy language to learn here in CA. Of course it would have been best to learn as a child but my parents didn't think it was a good idea. Bad luck for me.

A Northern Californian in Stockholm said...

This blog entry really made me smile because even after more than 5 years together (living in Sweden, but mainly speaking English with one another - we met speaking English), my Swedish husband frequently forgets and pronounces "J" in English like "Y". "Yust" instead of "just", "yeans" instead of "jeans", "yohn" instead of "John", "Yack" instead of "Jack", etc.

Being a native English speaker, it just sounds so strange every time he does it...even after all these years! :-)

I speak both English and Swedish and, yes, in Sweden the letter "J" is pronounced like the English letter "Y", but in the U.S. (and every other English-speaking country) the letter "J" is never ever pronounced like a "Y". Since your daughter is living in an English-speaking country, you can probably count on her continuing to correct you (even if it annoys you). ;-) :-)

Due to this language difference, my husband and I have already decided that we will never name a child of ours a name that starts with the letter "J". There's just too big a difference between English and Swedish when it comes to the pronunciation of the letter "J".

JaCal said...

Annika - haha - ja, då vet jag vad som väntar... om det börjar redan nu...

Anna - ja, det är det som är så kul med tvåspråkiga barn - för de fixar ju båda... jag fixar bara svenskan om jag slarvar.. och inte ens när jag anstränger mig alltid blir det helt korrekt.

Anna - haha! DET var en mycket välinformerad tvåspråkig 5åring! Hihi! Ja... dottern är mycket bestämd på utalningsfronten...

Christina - I guess this is one way to really hear you're not native. I'm sad you mother didn't teach you the Swedish - it sure is easier when you're a kid. I'm amazed at bilingualism and how it develops. I've heard only good things about Rosetta stone, I hope it can work out for you.

A Northern Californian in Stockholm - haha - well, I guess you know ALL about the "j" and the "Y" sounds - being surrounded by people who mess them up... I guess we should have thought more about this before naming the Daughter - it looked really good on paper... The other day she gave me a long lecture on how you pronouce her name differently in Swedish and English - something she has picked up herself - we have never really talked about it. Avoid the "J" that's for sure! ;-)

BritGirl said...

My girls are always telling me to "speak the queens english" as we should be proud of our heritage mum they say.
Then I hear them on the phone to their Californian friends putting on a litle american twang in their voice!One rule for mum and another for them! Sigh!