I have two Vietnamese students in my class who badly need to improve their pronunciation. The students are19 and 22 and have quite a good grasp of grammar, but their speech is very…very unclear. They have serious difficulties producing consonants like x, sh, th. They say it is very difficult for them to pronounce ch and dj, etc.
I would like to help them and volunteer some time, probably up to 4 hours. As there is a lot to teach and practice in both cases, I was wondering if you have any suggestions. What should I focus on during my limited time and what leave for their homework?
Thank you very much
I've had some experience teaching Vietnamese here in Oz so I have a little experience. Actually the phonological aspect I found most hard to understand, aside from the obvious pronunciation of certain consonants, was their rapid fire, almost abbeviated, stattaco rythym and stress. Work on getting them to slow their speech down with a clearer enunciation of the appropriate syllables
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Pronunciation exercises as homework? Never heard of that.
^ for sure.
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Why not? Students can records themselves need to keep tabs on how their sounding. Good pronunciation comes from hours of (usually boring) practice of the mechanics of producing the correct sound. Jonny, you mean to tell me you never sat down by yourself practicing how to say a particularly tricky Spanish sound?
How's that learning of another language going there Russ? Speaking any other languages at a fluent level there?
I know it works becuse I did it myself. Case in point: the pronunciation of the initial 'ng' in many Thai words. I had an idea of the mechanics of doing it (pushing the sound through the nose while opening the mouth) so I would practice it for hours at home (homework, get it?), on the bus, watching TV wherever. In fact having someone there 'correcting' you is usually distracting/frustrating...
I think we are talking almost two completely different kettles of fish here Markle.
I don't doubt it was effective for you.
Too late for me markle.
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warm your students vocal tract up with some simple tongue twisters. don't correct their speech at this stage; it's just a warm-up.
look up something called "minimal pairs" and create activities around them.
remember that pronunciation practice is a two-way street. be sure to involve listening activities as well.
look up a subject called articulation (manner, place, voice) and you'll do yourself and your students a load of good.
you'll find a lood of great IPA-based activities here. :: Phonetics Focus - A Sound Choice ::
teach them the IPA and get rolling. if you don't want to use the IPA, take the ideas from the activities on the website and adapt them if you can.
(i will almost guarantee someone will come along to poo-poo on the IPA. don't listen to them. it's a wonderful system that can be used very effectively if the teacher and the students are comfortable using it.)
BTW, those "sounds" are called phonemes and the "th" sound is actually two different sounds (voiced and unvoiced). and the "x" isn't a sound as much as it is a letter. it can be a combination of two phonemes /ks/ or one /z/. the first involves a final /s/ and that's always a problem in asia and the other involves a voiced version of /s/ and that of course is /z/. thais don't have that sound in their language so it's always an issue; i'm not sure about vietnamese.
pronunciation work can be done at home but it's not ideal. that site i gave you would be good but you'll have to review their progress in class.
markle, the /ng/ sound is difficult for us because we don't begin words with it in english. one great trick i learned is to begin with a english word that ends with /ng/ and then follow it with a thai word that begins with /ng/ (ngern, ngoo, ngai). once the /ng/ in the thai word sounds good, slowly cut out the english word beginning with the first sounds:
sing-ngern = /singern/
ing-ngern = /ingern/
and finally you arrive at /ngern/ (after a while of course)
You don't charge them, even for short time?
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