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Unread Jun 8th, 2015, 09:12 pm
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RobertZimmerman is on a distinguished road
Question Pronunciation in China


I'm working at a training school in Fujian Province China with students from high school age to adults. It is common for them even at some of the higher levels to have an "a" sound at the end of their words. Example: time-a, drink-a.

Any thoughts on how to help them? I've tried using phonetics and repeat exercises where I say the word and they repeat it even peer corrections don't seem to help much. Sometimes I even gesture with my hand when to cut off a word so that they don't stretch out the sound.

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Unread Jul 8th, 2016, 05:15 am
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Default Re: Pronunciation in China


I've been teaching in Shanghai for the past two years. I encountered that problem quite often when I taught older students. The method I found most effective was to clap the number of syllables in the word you're drilling.

For example, I had a student named Jack, and his classmates would call him Jack-a. We'd clap once and say Jack at the same time. Then we'd compare that to Jack (clap) a (hands apart). I would be really theatric about hands separating on the "a". For the most part, my students would laugh and understand. If they continued to add "a" to other words, we'd repeat the process.

I hope this is helpful!
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Unread Aug 10th, 2016, 02:15 am
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Default Re: Pronunciation in China

You might want to take a look at the work of a lady called judy thompson Thompson Language Center | Speak English quickly and confidently when you know the patterns (not the details) of how conversation works. or look for the book English is Stupid. She specialises in getting non native speakers to pronounce words correctly. As was suggested above, the method of clapping and placing hands apart is really great for placing emphasis on stretchy sounds - vowels and short sounds - consonants. She use and elastic band but I tend to use the clapping method alongside it.

You can write the word on the board, place a large emphasis on sounding out J-A-CK and then if you here the final 'a' ask them where it is in the word. You can split the class into 2 teams and ask them to challenge each other to pronounce simple words cleanly, without that final phoneme. those who get it right score a point and those that don't have to forfeit a turn.

Are you teaching each phoneme as purely as possible? Without the 'uh' at the end? E.g ck at the end of jack is pronounced from the back of the throat and is a very short sound it isn't a Cuh as is so often taught. It's really difficult for non native speakers to to differentiate between the 2, they just hear a final phoneme.

Apologies if this is teaching grandma to suck eggs

Good luck with it and happy teaching
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