Teaching ESL

How to improve pronounciation in short time?
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Author:  Margarita [ Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:42 pm ]
Post subject:  How to improve pronounciation in short time?

Hi everyone, :smt006
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 should I leave for their homework?
Thank you very much

Author:  mesmark [ Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to improve pronounciation in short time?

Pronunciation is hard for adults. It's not that you can't do it. The problem is said to be that you are so good at forming the sounds for your mother language that it's hard to break away from those mouth positions to form new sounds.

I usually spend a lot of time on the specific shapes of the mouth required to correctly pronounce each of the sounds you are working on. You mouth and its parts make up a musical instrument of sorts. All of the pieces need to be in the right position to make the correct sounds. The placement of your tongue, the shape of the oral cavity, the position of your lips and then the vibration or lack there of with the vocal cords.

Making the proper sounds requires practice forming these 'shapes'. For proper use in speaking it requires muscle memory and you can only get that via practice, practice, practice.

It certainly won't be quick but I think showing them and practicing the proper shape and attributes needed to make the sounds will help. Even just being conscious of them can make a difference over time.

Author:  daniel84 [ Wed May 15, 2013 11:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to improve pronounciation in short time?

I agree that the pronunciation is hard for adults, but on other hand I believe with the strong self-will everyone can do everything.

They can start to listen some English music (pop, rock...) or to watch English movies. They can definitely catch some phrases and try to learn how to pronounce the correctly.

Author:  Troehr [ Thu May 16, 2013 3:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to improve pronounciation in short time?

You can work on the mouth positions for the sound you want to work on. Then you can reinforce them with words and then tongue twisters. Pick a couple and work on fixing those. It would be very frustrating to both yourself and your students to try to fix them all at once. Pick the most used ones that cause the most confusion in understanding first.

Author:  RonyJohnson [ Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to improve pronounciation in short time?

I agree with the "Practice Practice Practice" method. They need to practice enough to develop the "muscle memory" mentioned above. I have a success with "Listen and Repeat method". Put a headset, start a listening material and repeat all you hear after the speaker. Repeat aloud.

I have found that audio books of the classics works very well. Plus the students are learning about books that are on University Reading list.

Another good method to develop fluency - read aloud.


Author:  squirrel211 [ Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to improve pronounciation in short time?

The best way to teach pronunciation I found for adults is to take a full pronunciation course, like the one Ann Baker presents. There are all the sounds with description of mouth and tongue position. After each sound it is very useful to read Remedial Reading Drills, and then correct the student while speaking.
The main point is to study sounds in the correct order and one by one, not all together.

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