How can I help my child understand heavy accents?
We're moving to an area where people speak with a very heavy accent, and I'm afraid that my toddler won't understand them. Will this hamper her speech development?
Submitted by Parents Team

Most children adapt very readily to accent changes and have little trouble understanding the speech around them, so being around heavy accents shouldn't be a problem. On the rare occasion when your child is having trouble understanding, act as her interpreter by repeating what has just been said. --Natalie Walker Whitlock

Copyright 2004. Reprinted with permission from the June 2000 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009

Answered by Parents Team
Community Answers (3)

I disagree with Ms. Whitlock's answer. Phoneme awareness and sequencing, the building blocks to reading, can be a hampered by a teacher's thick accent making it difficult for a child to see a new word and pronounce and decipher it correctly.
Submitted by thumb-kin

My 4yo daughter has had teachers with strong accents from countries of origin such as India, Iran, China and Mexico. I worried at first, but she never had any difficulty understanding them, even if I did. In fact, she picked up some Chinese and Spanish, which was wonderful.
Submitted by GnuMom10