What is a Lisp & Does Ming Ming have One?

Well for some mothers this may be a crazy question.  Some of you may not even know who Ming Ming is yet.  But this is a controversial issue among parents these days.  Through conversation with a few other parents the show on Nick Jr/Noggin called the Wonder Pets was discussed.  One of the parents concerns was that Ming Ming, the yellow duck had a lisp.  Because of that they were no longer allowing their child to watch the show.
 Well I have to say that my children have in deed watched the show here or there and I never noticed it.  So I had to look into it.  After researching the subject I found mixed reviews. 
Some parents said Ming Ming did have a lisp and some not.  Others said they never noticed it.  I heard parents say that she did have one and it was developmental inappropriate.  Some even stated that their child became talking the same way.  And last but not least many mothers said the television is for entertainment not education.  Therefore if your child did start speaking like Ming Ming, he or she may be watching too much tv. Also, you as a parent need to talk with your child and correct him/her.

Regardless of other parents opinions there needs to be a clarification of what a lisp really is.

A LISP is defined as a: a speech impediment in which a person has trouble pronouncing the letter’s “S” and “Z.” These letters tend to be pronounced with a “th” sound in someone with a lisp.  Why does theis happen?  When the person speaks their tongue either protrudes between their teeth, touches their front teeth or touches their palate and that is why the sound that comes out is more like a ‘th’ than a “s” or “z”.

Here are a few examples:  sorry – Thorry
                                       sad – Thad
                                       Zoo – Thoo   
A lisp can be treated and resolved through work with a speech pathologist.  Also according to Linda Bowen PhD, “It is a perfectly normal developmental phase for some (not all) children to produce interdental or dentalised /s/ and /z/ sounds until they are about 4½ years of age. There are age norms here.
On the other hand, neither lateral or palatal lisps are part of the normal developmental progression. The speech of a child with a lateral or palatal lisp should be assessed, by a speech-language pathologist, without delay.”

After research and actually talking with a speech pathologist of 10 years, my conclusion is that Ming Ming from the Wonder Pets does not have a lisp.  She does tend to pronounce the letter “R” as a “W.”  An example of this is when she says “This is Serious.”  She actually pronouces it as “This is Sewious.” Just to clarify if Ming Ming actually had a lisp she would be pronoucing the statement as “Thith ith Theriouth.”

I also looked into it a little further and found information straight from the producers and child who does the voice for Ming Ming.  Ming Ming is suppose to be a young toddler about age 3.  If you listen to Ming Ming’s vocabulary it far surpasses what a typical 3 year old child would speak like.  It is actually pretty sophisticated at times. 

I can understand some parents concerns but in the end we teach our children.  Although they can learn a thing or two from television, it is our job to correct them.  My three year ols is actually slightly delayed in his speech.  I have to regularly correct him and how he pronouces his words.  Although some of it is developmentally normal, he still needs a little more one on one time. 
Just for kicks I asked my 3 and 5 year old what I was saying when I stated, “Sewious.”  Both said I was saying serious.  My 5 year old said I was saying it a little funny but both knew the correct term.  So there you have it folks.
I think if you chose to, you can point the finger and blame a lot on other things, including the television.  But like I said before, we as parents are the ones who teach our children.  Throughout motherhood we will be faced with many challenges of teaching our children what’s right and wrong.  Whether it’s how to pronounce a word, that hitting your sibling isn’t okay, or that regularly saying toilet, poopy, and/or I am going to punch you in the nose, isn’t okay.  Yes, I did say toilet, poopy and punch you in the nose.  Thank you to the elementary school bus full of boys.  Thank you very much!!!

What are your thoughts and opinions? 
Is TV suppose to educate our children
or entertain them?
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3 Responses to What is a Lisp & Does Ming Ming have One?

  1. What happened to teaching acceptance of others? Because someone has a lisp, it is bad? I've never thought of Ming Ming as anything but young, learning to talk. I can't believe that some parents refuse to watch just because a character is different. Aren't we supposed to teach that differences don't matter? That everyone is a Child of God? (Found you on SITS, btw!!)Thanks for the clarification on lisps. I agree that if your kids are copying a cartoon character, they are watching way too much tv.

  2. I mean, seriously, shouldn't we be teaching children to accept others, regardless of how they speak? I think parents are reading way too much into this.I remember listening to Cindy Brady's lisp growing up– and I specifically remember the episode where she was made fun of for it. I don't think anyone ever had a problem with her!~Elizabethhttp://confessionsfromaworkingmom.blogspot.com

  3. Chrisy Bates says:

    Of course I think we should teach our children to accept others diffrences. I would like to add, I am from the generation who grew up with Donald Duck, Yosemite Sam, and Porky Pig, and I can proudly say that my speach is not impaired in the least….DAAAAAAAATS ALL Folks!

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