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Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Eleven Plus and Speech

Speech is an important element of some aspects of the eleven plus. There must be many theories of the origin of speech – but they must all be speculative. One that could fit the eleven plus model is sometimes called the bow-wow.

A different name for the same theory is the `cuckoo’ – and here is it thought that early man made noises similar to animals or birds. We get `quack-quack’, for example, from the sound made by certain types of ducks.

Another type of common early sound could have been when ancient man felt pain or pleasure. `Ah’ and `ssh’ may play a part in many languages.

We could also look at the use of the tongue in speech. I can remember meeting Bushmen in Bechuanaland who use clicks of the tongue to communicate. If we lived in the bush we would not want to develop sounds that were alien to the environment.

But eleven plus language can not revolve around the sounds of animals or primitive language. It must be possible to answer some eleven questions with a restricted vocabulary. A good technique of answering multiple choice questions, however, must help. We all know that eleven plus children need an extensive vocabulary but carefully prepared children may enjoy some form of advantage.

Words that eleven plus children want to hear could include:

“Well done. You did your best.”

“We are very pleased with you.”

“We know you tried hard.”

And finally:

“Wow! That is fantastic!”

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