My five year old daughter has made the same grammatical mistake for nearly two years now. She mixes up word order 99% of the time when asking questions. For example, she asks questions like this:
"Why the pizza is so hot?" "Why that boy does that?" "When we will go to the zoo?" "What this is?" (For some reason 'who' questions are always in the correct word order.)
I wonder if it is because she asks a lot more questions than she hears, so she thinks the word order should be the same as for an answer. No matter how often I try to rephrase her question to demonstrate the correct order, it just doesn't seem to work. Any ideas? Thanks!
Aaron, these types of persistent errors in developing language ability are common but I know they can be frustrating to hear. (My kids still can't quite master the use of "either/neither" in statements of negative agreement, like "I don't, either" or Me, neither." They're inclination is to use "too," which is logical, but isn't natural is such cases.)
Basically, I would agree that these errors persist because the child hasn't yet received enough modeling of the correct form to "rewire" the usage that has become a "bad habit." (If the usage interferes with communication, then the child will naturally attempt another form more quickly, but these are cases where the communication isn't really hampered--despite the unconventional form--and so there's less genuine need to alter the pattern of usage.)
I don't know where your daughter's literacy development is at this point, but I would recommend that you not only continue rephrasing her errors, orally, but that you also make full use of captive reading to expand her exposure to models of correct usage, which I suspect will strengthen her awareness of the desired form and help her "rewire" her own usage.
And I think I should now take this advice, too, and post some big, bold models of negative agreement on our bathroom wall!
Good luck, Aaron! She will surely outgrow this issue in time, but your playful efforts can aid the process!
"Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability: Ideas and inspiration for even greater success and joy raising bilingual kids", now available at Amazon (http://amzn.to/22XKuCt) and all global Amazon sites
Hi Adam, thanks for the input. She's beginning to read spontaneously on her own only very recently (in English). She can read a good portion of the Biscuit books (if you're familiar with the small yellow dog). I hadn't thought of this in reading as much, but it does make sense. I'll look for specific examples in books we own. Thanks!
Hi Aaron, even with these mistakes it sounds like your little girl is doing great! Such big sentences, and beginning to read, I sure hope my little girl gets this far in English!
I teach English in France and have used the board game Guess Who (with adults!) to help them work on their question structure. You could try this, or think of some other games which would demand producing repetitive questions. Adam's reading idea is great too, perhaps making your own stories or using books with lots of questions.
English speaking Canadian Mom, French speaking Dad, happily transitioning to minority language at home (English) with our baby daughter in France.
Aaron, for this sort of modeling, you might find it even easier and more effective to write your own short texts for her that include these language targets. How about a fun little story about a five-year-old girl (use your daughter's name to boost engagement) who asks lots and lots and lots of questions to the characters in the world around her?
My most successful captive reading variation has involved writing "serial stories" that star my own kids. See...
Along with Joanna's suggestion, "Guess Who", you might also look for the game "Stare! Junior", which focuses on asking and answering questions. You'll find a bit more about this game, along with other good language games, at this post...
Country (residing now): France Country (originally from): France Children, Ages: 2 girls of 4 years old and 11 months old Majority Language: French Minority Language(s): Spanish (ml1 - "dominant") and English (ml2 -"recessive")
Your post has cheered me up a little. My 4 year old also gets muddled up when phrasing a question.
Maybe it's also an age thing...?
I also rephrase her questions, but I see that sometimes she's tired of me correcting. It is a growing concern: how to help her phrase correctly? I tried the Mr Men and Little Miss version of the Guess Who game but the penny still hasn't dropped...
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
I know I'm late to the party, but have you ever thought of home-made Jeopardy? There is a board game, but it might be challenging, unless you find a kid version. However I'm sure you can make your own. "The chicken wanted some nachos on the other side of the street" - "Why did the chicken cross the road?!" That way you'll have multiple opportunities to correct and model the correct phrasing.
We have had a similar issue with "I have" expression in Russian which is literally translated as "with me there is", so we played bingo forever and ever, with the ever present question "Who has the letter ...?" Took a few months, but it worked.
Mayken: My girl and I are going to see her ml grandma in our ml country for the Easter weekend. (And buy more books!)
Apr 13, 2017 4:35:53 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, I hope you two have a fun, book-happy weekend!
Apr 13, 2017 5:23:08 GMT 9
Mayken: On the train from Paris to Cologne we sat next to another ml mother and daughter from our school! Only noticed when almost in Cologne. It's a small ML-ml world!
Apr 13, 2017 21:40:37 GMT 9
Amy: Got fleeting impression during Skype call with daughter on holiday at grandparents' in ml1 country, that her ml1 pronunciation has improved! She even seemed more confident speaking in ml2!
Apr 14, 2017 23:12:48 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken and Amy, you and your kids are both doing so well! Keep up your wonderful efforts!
Apr 15, 2017 21:26:50 GMT 9
Mayken: During the traditional German Easter fire, my daughter met her friend from her school day in the ml school! So many birds with one stone! (Sorry for the birds ;))
Apr 16, 2017 18:51:11 GMT 9