VietNamNet Bridge – The Hanoi Education and Training Department has been determined to treat dyslalia, simply because the capital city’s dwellers must not lisp. However, experts have warned that the campaign would cost multi-million dong.
A recently released report shows that dyslalia is a widespread phenomenon in 13 suburb districts, mostly in the former province of Ha Tay which has become a part of Hanoi after a decision to merge Ha Tay into Hanoi.
The survey on dyslalia was conducted right in 2009, just several months after Ha Tay was merged into Hanoi. The biggest mistake that local people always make is that they cannot tell the difference between two consonants “l” and “n”.
More than a half of students and 1/3 of teachers have been found as speaking with a lisp. Especially, members of the schools’ boards of management also contract this bad habit. There are so many lisping people living in the same localities that no one can recognize that they lisp and they don’t think that they need to treat dyslalia, until they “integrate with the outside world.”
In the villages, children speak with a lisp, because they are taught by the adults who also speak with a lisp. They only recognize the mistakes in speaking when they grow up. However, it is really very difficult to correct their pronunciation at this age. Some of them can correct, while others cannot. Meanwhile, old people do not mind correcting their pronunciation, because they do not think this is a necessity at their old age.
The widespread dyslalia has been blamed on the education sector. The districts in the inner city have been refusing to recruit the teachers with incorrect pronunciation over the last many years. Therefore, few students in the inner city make pronunciation mistakes.
Meanwhile, many teachers at grammar schools in the suburbs speak with a lisp, so it is understandable why students also speak with a lisp.
Educators thought that once teachers can correct their pronunciation, students will automatically escape from incorrect pronunciation. However, they have changed their mind. Students can pronounce well at schools, but they may speak with a lisp again when they return home and live among the people who speak with a lisp all the time.
In fact, not only the Hanoi education and training department is determined to treat dyslalia, but Hanoians and students from other provinces also want to pronounce correctly. Especially, students well understand that if they do not correct their pronunciation, they will never be able to get jobs.
Nguyen Thanh, a student of the University of Education, revealed that she has lost a tutoring job just because she mistakes “l” for “n”. The mother of the boy who hired Thanh as a tutor, decided to dismiss Thanh after discovering Thanh’s incorrect pronunciation. Instead of saying “nao”, she said “lao”, which led to the changes of the meaning of the word (“nao” means “what”, while “lao” means “Laos country”).
Dr Vu Kim Bang, Deputy Head of the Vietnam Linguistics Institute, said that the best solution to treat dyslalia is to separate the people who speak with a lisp from the environment. If they keep staying in the community of people who speak with a lisp, they never recognize their pronunciation mistakes.
Bang went on to say that in fact, dyslalia not only can be seen in Hanoi, but in many other localities as well. Hai Phong and Hai Duong are the two provinces where a high percentage of people suffer from dyslalia.
Hai Phong’s authorities have spent 200 million dong on a program to treat dyslalia in the city.
Dr Do Viet Hung, Head of the Philology Faculty of the Hanoi University of Education, said that only when the correct pronunciation becomes a requirement on every individual when applying for jobs, will dyslalia problem be settled. He also believes that schools should only recruit the teachers with correct pronunciation.