My princess-daughter has spent 6 hours a day in a fully English-speaking environment now for nine months. She speaks Canadian complete with the nasally duck-accent, which we hear so often on lady-Canadian news presenters (amongst others). And yet, and yet, once more proving that genes and nature seem to have the last word, she insists on pronouncing “the”, “ve”, and “three”, “free”. Like 99% of her English-speaking compatriots. Blood will tell.
And it is driving me crazy. Although, I suppose I should be glad she doesn’t say “de” and “sree”- which is how my father’s generation of Iranian students pronounced the tricky “th” sound, wholly absent from Farsi.
“Don’t put your teeth on your lips. There, on your tongue. Blow gently. It is NOT “Free”! THTHTHTHreeeeee! THTHTHReeeee!”
The princess pokes out her tongue, resting it against her mostly missing upper teeth and tries again. “THTHFFFFFreeeeeeeeeeeeeee.”
“Look, it’s really easy. Just remember your teeth shouldn’t be on your lips. See? THTHTHTHREEEEEE….”
Her pretty face contorts with the effort. Out comes the pink tongue. She concentrates really hard. “TH TH TH TH reeeee” BOOOOOOOOOP!
The last sound didn’t come from her mouth. Apparently the effort was too much for her digestive system, and the loudest, rudest phart I have ever heard burst from her.
For a moment we were both too stunned to speak. She turned red. Then we both collapsed into peals of hysteric laughter. The lesson was over.