Submitted by Paul Rogers on December 3, 2017 - 12:12pm
The pronunciation of English is very difficult, as we all know. Actually English may be the most difficult language in the world to pronounce!!! And that may be the reason so many English courses avoid teaching students good pronunciation.
Pronouncing a foreign language involves...making foreign sounds which the tongue, the jaw and the mouth do not want to make!!! For example, like most Americans, when I was learning Spanish I could not roll my RRRs. I practiced for three months. Finally I could do it! I was very proud of myself.
But English has about 20 sounds that are very frustrating to pronounce.
At the same time learning how to pronounce English is very important. First, of course it helps in speaking English. But it also helps in “listening comprehension” and in reading well.
Over the years there are some techniques I have developed which work very well and are even enjoyable for my students.
I use patience and humor and always include a pronunciation lesson or reminder in almost all lessons or classes.
My method is this:
1. First, I hand out my booklets to all my students with the vocabulary written like this:
Table tei’ bal mesa
2. I focus first on the most important sounds first such as the G/J, V, Th, short i, short and the short u. In later classes I introduce examples of other letter combinations.
3. I then introduce an example of how to make the sound using humor.
4. The students practice making the sounds, first as a group, then individually.
5. The we use lessons on the alphabet, greetings and numbers to practice. For example: spell your name, say out loud your phone number, etc.
6. Tongue twisters - trabalenguas are popular and useful.
7. I show how to divide long words into syllables and repeat slowly at first then gradually faster and faster.
8. And I always use a lot of humor and patience.
In this way we as a class can build a foundation so that pronunciation becomes just as important as grammar, verb tenses and idioms.
People have asked me why I do not use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). My answer is that it is too complicated, and that I spell the words phonetically the way that Spanish speaking students would probably write them. I learned this from my students.
Finally I also tell my students that accents are actually a good thing, because they make English a more interesting language. Personally I would prefer to speak English the way that Antonio Banderas speaks it!!!
The above is an outline of my pronunciation lessons, which are also included in my sites pumarosa and inglesconprofepablo.
I look forward to reading your comments.