Sunday, September 28, 2008

"Fricative" Sounds Like a Bad Word

Some words just sound funny. As I went through college as a speech and language major, us girls would get over-stressed and laugh at the term "fricative" at times when our professor used it during the most serious of lectures. In fact, several of the students began using it to replace or avoid a bad word. Memories......

The Miriam-Webster Dictionary gives the definition as follows:
Latin fricatus, past participle of fricare
: a consonant characterized by frictional passage of the expired breath through a narrowing at some point in the vocal tract
— fricative adjective

I love words and find them entertaining. Each language has variants, but in English and what we are concerned with in our own household here is the particular subset of fricatives called sibilants. Here, the narrowing is made by the tongue curled lengthwise to direct the air over the edge of the teeth. Plainly put, we are having major challenges here with the sounds: /s/, /z/, /sh/, /ch/ and /j/!

It's really no big deal as once one of these sounds are remediated, generally the rest follow along naturally. That's always been fascinating for me to observe in kids. However, our work here on these sounds keeps getting derailed the past few years due to my daughter loosing teeth. By that, I mean a lot of teeth and on the average of four years earlier than children for her chronological age. This is quite intriguing as she is quite small for her years, physically.

Honestly, this is such a common set of sounds to be misarticulated, but this stay at home speech teacher is finding it a more difficult case to clear than my students of the past. I'm confident, due to this little one's motivation this will some day be behind us though. She has breezed through her review of sounds in isolation, in initial-medial-final placement in words and is on to phrases and short sentences at this point.

Of course, none of that matters unless there is full carryover in conversational speech. Luckily, this is one child who never stops chatting all day long. Some day soon we will get there, but every once in a while I think to myself "fricative!" If we could just get beyond all this there would be more time for our nature journals, art and music on the days we do our special subjects.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have tested it and writing form your personal experience or you find some information online?