Hypercorrection

If you’ve ever had to teach English, learn a foreign language, sing in a choir, or for any other reason pay attention to the sounds of language, you’ve probably noticed that the American English sound “t” is often transmuted into something softer, almost like the letter D but not quite.

If you’ve never noticed this phenomenon, say these words aloud: little/middle, battle/saddle. The sound you make in the middle of each word is called a “tongue flap.” Then say the sentence, “The fat cat sat on the mat.” Notice how each T is formed in your mouth but doesn’t actually come out?

Somewhere along the line, Rafi noticed that the T is “supposed” to be always hard, so he’s been pronouncing English words like Israelis do: li-ttel (instead of little), hott (instead of hot), etc.

I wasn’t too surprised by that.

What really surprised me is that lately, he’s gotten the idea that every “D” sound is actually a bastardization of what is supposed to be a T. So he says:

  • “Mittle” instead of middle
  • “Retti” instead of ready
  • “Wintow” instead of window

It’s pretty cute, and I imagine he’ll eventually get it sorted out. The whole thing boggles my mind a bit.

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4 thoughts on “Hypercorrection

    • Actually, he also over-corrects th: instead of either, sometimes it comes out ei-ter. I think it’s because he can’t pronounce the th sound so well, so it gets turned to d, and then to t.

  1. A long time ago I started saying “printed” with a t instead of “prinnid” because I thought it sounded better when other people did it that way.

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