Monday, October 21, 2013

The trouble with "L'

Oliver's version of his family
When I was with Daniel the other day, he said  he 'wuvs' it.
So you really wuv it?
He as indignant as he could be:

I didn't say 'wuv', I said WUV.

So he can tell the difference when I say it, not just when he says it.

His brother can not say Ls either or  Rs which makes it hard for strangers to understand his name when he says it.
I took Josh in for speech therapy when he was 4 because he was unable to say Rs and diphthongs containing S. I can't remember if he could say L words. To get rid of his lisp, he had to pronounce S in front of a mirror taking care to keep his teeth closed so  the tongue would be behind them. He speaks well now.

I was an English speaking partner for a Japanese businessman in an ESL program back in college. His goal was to correctly pronounce Honolulu where his company had an office.
Maybe he thought he was pronouncing it correctly and was too polite to correct me when I told him he wasn't. English speakers rarely mix up their Ls and Rs. My gross stereotype was that Chinese people could pronounce Ls but not Rs and Japanese could pronounce Rs but not Ls especially as Chinese names have Ls in them and Japanese commonly have Rs though my business man did not. I've been since told that this is not true. Both languages contain a sound that is half way between an L and an R. I can't even imagine how to make that sound. I tried to tell him where to hold his tongue. The tongue is closer to the teeth with an L. I am not a speech therapist or otherwise maybe I could have helped myself. I still have trouble reproducing an Italian R reliably though sometimes I can.

I biked to Josh's yesterday. There is a smooth, direct road  that goes there but in mid-day, it would be busy and a mile of it is closed due to construction. I took 7 miles of a dirt road which took me to a paved bike trail that comes close to his house. However it had rained quite a bit the day before. There was enough sunshine to dry up the paved roads but not the dirt ones. Right away I had to go down a steep, slick (wet clay is especially slippery) pothole infested stretch. Soon I was covered in mud. I stopped to text Steve to request another outfit but too late for that. Fortunately not the whole road was like that (but I bet half of it was, a reminder to myself never to buy a house on a dirt road). Parts were stunningly beautiful. Fall colors, horse farms, a deep blue sky. The section that paralleled the closed road was especially treacherous and traffic filled. I was well aware that I was blocking traffic but the road was so bad, I don't think a car would dare go faster than me lest it broke an axle. I rode through parts of three counties to get there. I was only on the trail for 5.5 miles. It wasn't as smooth as I remembered. At Josh's after I brushed as much mud off as I could and removing my outer shirt which left me with a much cleaner shirt (though sweatier), I was free to watch Allie as her parents went on a rare trip, just by themselves. She is so cute. Last week, she had profession pictures taken. We are eagerly awaiting those.

Later a fun Orange is the New Black viewing marathon session. Five episodes to go and then maybe a new season starts.
Hopefully Ms. Allie will have no trouble with L
Odds are against it

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