Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Reading and pronunciation

Or, Continuing my daughter's education.

Now that my eldest daughter is home again I'm showing her how to do reading lessons with her youngest brother -- the two oldest girls are teaching reading to the two youngest children while I'm having a Latin lesson with my eleven year old daughter. Yesterday's lesson went something like this:

Me: Now sound out this word.
Little Man: Pĕĕĕĕĕnnnnn.
Me: Yes. What word?
LM: Pin.
Me: Good!
Eldest Daughter: But, he said "pin" not "pen."
Me: We're Southerners. That's the way we say it.

Some of y'all might remember this passage from The Fathers by Alan Tate, but I want to highlight one sentence in particular: "In pronunciation the criterion was the oral tradition, not the way the word looked in print to an uneducated school-teacher."