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Self-study pronunciation work 
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:38 am
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Location: Italy
Post Self-study pronunciation work
Over in the "General" section, new member Damaris asked for help with working on pronunciation outside the classroom.

Whenever students ask me for advice on this I trot out the same old suggestion as I did for Damaris - get hold of some native-speaker recordings (eg a DVD of a movie) and try to copy the pronunciation of some phrases from it. And maybe record and play back the results on cassette.

But that's not much of an idea really. Anybody have any better ideas? (For me and/or Damaris.)

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Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:02 am
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Location: Nagano, Japan
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You idea sounds good to me.

There's also shadowing, which is trying to say the same thing just after a native speaker. That would work with a DVD or listening CD. It's used to increase speed, but I think with increased speed (or just practice) people will see improvements in their pronounciation.

I often tell students they should try singing. I thinking singing is great for pronounciation practice.

Although we all get a little anxious about our pronounciation of L2, I don't think there needs to be so much stress placed on it. With time and practice students' pronounciation will get better, but only the rare few will ever be perfect.

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Mon Apr 14, 2008 1:44 pm
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I agree with Mark that singing is great for pronunciation practice. You could assign the student a song, ask them to practice at home, and then check the pronunciation when they return to class.

Something I have done with my adult students is assign maybe 4 sentences a week, and ask them to practice saying them each 10 times a day. You could use tongue twisters, or make up your own sentences suited to their problem areas. For example, I had a student who was always saying "witchy" for witch. So we made a little sentence, "Which witch is which witch?" (turns out thats a book title). Then each week in class I checked her pronunciation. This really helped.

Also practicing phonics can help with individual sounds. If you have a student who is always pronouncing V as b, etc. practicing the basic sounds can be helpful. I have some free phonics and song downloads you could assign as homework if you like http://www.dreamenglish.com/abcphonics and http://www.dreamenglish.com/freedownload

I hope some of this is helpful!

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Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:23 am
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I still like Jon's idea of having the student record themselves reading or saying something. Then have them play it back or play it back in class. The student can just listen to themselves and sometimes that's good for recognition of pronounciation problems. Or, the teacher can repeat the phrase and let the students listen for the differences.

I hardly ever focus on single words, but instead try to increase fluency. It may be because of my students though. I have a lot of beginner and intermediate level students who ... are ... fo.cus.ing ... o.n ... e.ver.y ... sin.gle ... syl.la.ble ... or ... s.ou.n.d.

I tell them if they can get out what they want to say fast enough, I can make sense of it even if I didn't catch one of the words, it was wrong, or the pronounciation was off.

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Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:39 am
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Probably mostly of use to higher-level students and doubtful teachers, but here's a link to two online single word pronunciation resources:

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/whadja-say-online-word-pronunciation-guides/

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Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:58 pm
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Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 8:03 am
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I feel that it helps students a lot when I explain where a specific sound
which is difficult for the students to pronounce is formed.FOr example Greek students have trouble hearing the difference between s and sh, since these sounds
are interchangeable in Greek without any change in the meaning of words.
I ask students to feel where they have the tip of the tongue when they say
"s" and then ask them to push the tip of their tongue backwards in the mouth to produce "sh". It works.

They also have a tendency to pronounce the diphtong in
boat as oh-ou, I don't know how to write this here, i.e. with their mouth
rounded off as if they were saying "oh" so I make them say boat with
the corners of the mouth drawn sideways as in a smile so that boat gets
pronounced ok.

Another thing that helps with the pronunciation is underlining the stressed syllable in multi syllable words. We know that the stressed syllable should last as long as the rest of the word. In order to achieve this the
the vowels in the unstressed syllables are usually reduced to the schwa sound e.g the vowel
sound at the end of the word "teacher" . If the students understand this
then it is much easier for them to get the pronunciation right if they know where the stress falls.
There are some difficult words like "luxurious" for which I simply write
the phonetic transcription on the board. I don't expect students to be able
to produce phonetic transcriptions but little by little I get them to have
a working knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet. I find it a useful tool in getting students to become independent of their teacher, the teaching them how to fish thing, you know.


Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:50 am
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