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Luiz Carlos

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Hi everyone!

My wife and I live in Brazil. Since my daughter was born we decided to raise her bilingual. I lived in the States and graduated from high school there, so I just speak in english to her since then and my wife in portuguese. My daughter is today 1 year and 9 months old and she has made a remarkable progress in learning english. However, from about three months ago she started doing something that is worrying me. She used to pronounce the “r” at the end of words like “bear” correctly, but since about 3 months ago she started to change the sound of “r” for the sound of “l” for words that end in “r”, so the word “bear” sounds more like “beal”. Of course that we have children that change phonemes or letters when start learning portuguese, but I don’t have the experience to know if that happens in english too! I would appreciate if somebody could tell me if that’s something normal and that changes with time or if it would be better to consult a speech therapist.
Vinicius Freire

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Hi Carlos,

Nice to hear about that. I am having a child this year and I was concerned about confusing the child (same situation here, I would speak only in English and my wife only in Portuguese).

But, as for the pronunciation, I think it’s only a matter of persistence. Eventually, your kid should be able to pickup the correct sounds, or so I’ve read. I know of a friend who’s teaching her child Portuguese in Switzerland, and it’s been quite successful, even the accent. I think it’sjust a matter of time.


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This reply is very late and may not help you, but maybe it can help somebody else that experiences a similar problem. We raise our children in a multilingual environment and at the moment they speak two languages fluently, one at an intermediate level and a little bit of two more. At one point one if my daughters started chosing a weird way to end her words in one of her better languages. I was quite conserned because her pronounciation just got worse. At one point she was even ending her words with three consonants. I don’t remember exactly how she did it, but for illustration picture a xhild pronouncing “cat” as “cat-t-t”. She was maybe five years old at this time. I tried some speech exercises with her and she never seemed to be able to get it right. Then suddenly, seemingly overnight, she just started speaking normally again. I spoke to a speech therapist, who said nit to worry until your child starts to reach school age. The pronounciation will typically have corrected itself by then.

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