CONVERSATIONS · slice of life · speech

How do you pronounce New Jersey? #sol16

Like any mom whose kid has CAS, I am always listening to my child’s speech with heightened awareness. Lately, I’ve been noticing Isabelle has been having trouble with the vowel sound in words like first, fur, glitter, hammer, her, Jersey, and sure. (New Jersey is the one that initially triggered my concern since Isabelle has been saying “New Joisey,” which sends shutters up and down my spine!) I’ve tried correcting her, but I haven’t been able to correct her mouth posturing. Therefore, I brought this issue to the attention of her speech therapist this morning.
Isabelle’s speech therapist worked tirelessly to determine where the problem was occurring so she shuffled through a bunch of /r/ words with vowels. She determined the issue was mostly with the medial /er/. Now, I have word lists and am armed with ways to help Isabelle fix her mouth so she can pronounce the words correctly (i.e., encourage her to pull back her lips into more of a smile when she says the medial /er/, rather than allowing her to round her lips when she makes that sound).
Like all of the articulation things we work on, this will take practice and patience. I know we’ll get there. A little humor will go a long way. So, in that vein, here’s part of a funny conversation I overheard between Isabelle and her speech therapist when they were trying to fix up the pronunciation of Jersey this morning.


Apparently, if you change the name of the state, it will be easier to pronounce!



11 thoughts on “How do you pronounce New Jersey? #sol16

  1. I love the conversation! I have a daughter who had trouble with speech. Her name is Eden so we used to call it “speaking E” and only those closest to her could understand her. The medial /er/ sound was the last one she had to work on and possibly the most difficult to correct. But practice and persistence paid off – she’s now 11 and you’d never know. But you know, some days I miss that distinctive language and her pronunciations.

  2. Another great observation from Isabelle! Actually, I think that is the way some people from New Jersey or maybe Philly pronounce it. She may feel right at home in some circles.

  3. Interesting to see this slice today. My little 2.5 year old just figured out her “s” sound today, and I was so excited. I wasn’t worried since she’s so little still, but her name is Sarah, so she always calls herself “thawah,” Lol. So to hear her call herself Sawah (baby steps!) was so cool. I’m hoping you have little triumphs like that throughout her speech therapy and probably even more excited!

    And her conversation is super cute!

  4. I think she’s quite clever to change what must be the “harder” word to “New Zayde”. It sounds just right to me. And Rose might be right, “New Joisey” is what we hear in a stereotyped voice!

  5. My sister had the same medial sound issues when she was little and spent all of elementary school in speech therapy. I teach speech, i.e. public speaking, and show students a DVD from Standard Deviants called “Learn Public Speaking” that addresses pronunciation issues in a humors way.

  6. Don’t they say the best defense is a good offense? Pronunciation is so funny! We tease my mother for adding an “r” to many words, like “warsh”. Ever hear that one?

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