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by Abigail Van Buren

Grandparents' Bad Grammar Is Painful Music to Mom's Ears

DEAR ABBY: As a first-time mother, I want to give our child the best. Since Nicholas is now 19 months old, he will soon be spending more time with his paternal grandparents. They crave all the time they can get with him, and he loves them dearly. It would also give my husband and me a much-needed break if Nicky could spend weekends and vacations with his grandparents.

The problem is their grammar. It is atrocious! The double negatives, the "ain'ts," the sloppy way they speak ("It's gonna rain Sa-erdee"), etc., just drive me batty! I don't want Nicky to speak that way. And suppose he picks up incorrect grammar from his grandparents -- am I to say, "Your grandparents are ignorant"?

Compounding the problem is the fact that I'm raising Nicky to be bilingual. I speak to him in Greek, and thus far that's the only language he speaks. He is sure to pick up English from playmates and other sources.

In spite of the rubbish that exists around most children today, I am determined that Nicky will speak properly, so I am at painful odds what to do about his grandparents' speech. Can you help me? -- NICKY'S MOTHER

DEAR MOTHER: Developing a close and loving relationship with his grandparents will be of greater value to Nicky than any protection you can give him against exposure to sloppy grammar.

As the daughter of Russian immigrants who came to America as young adults with virtually no knowledge of the English language, I somehow managed to learn how to speak properly. And so did they. And so will Nicky. Trust me.