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Teaching pronunciation of 'usually'

 
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first_sino_madness



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 7:18 am    Post subject: Teaching pronunciation of 'usually' Reply with quote

Hi,

I'm teaching adults in a business environment who are intermediate to advanced (CET 4-8 in PR China). But, I'm stumped trying to find/devise a good strategy for teaching the second syllable pronunciation in 'usually' - similarly for 'casually', 'pleasure'.

I can't type phonetics here, so to try and be clearer it's the sound of 'je' as in 'je suis'.

Any and all suggestions greatfully appreciated.

Cheers
David
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1368
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if you are teaching Chinese speakers, they may have trouble with s and sh. I don't know what sound they are replacing the "je" sound with. However, if they can understand voicing as in the difference between s and z or f and v, you can explain that it is the same difference between sh and zh (or however you want to write it without IP Wink )
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first_sino_madness



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Lorikeet,

FWIW s or sh is not a problem here. I live in Shanghai.

What happens is that they try to fudge the sound for 'usually' by using their lips and not their tongue.

So, the sound is 'uwually'. Obviously the answer is to get them to use their tongue. I haven't been successful thus far, so that's why I'm asking for help. I've tried something along the lines that you suggested, but not exactly. So, I'll give it a go.

Any other ideas?

Cheers
David
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dduck



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 265

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

first_sino_madness wrote:
What happens is that they try to fudge the sound for 'usually' by using their lips and not their tongue.

So, the sound is 'uwually'. Obviously the answer is to get them to use their tongue. I haven't been successful thus far, so that's why I'm asking for help. I've tried something along the lines that you suggested, but not exactly.


I only use my tongue when I pronounce the 'el' sound, I round my lips too. If you say "Use" the end sound is 'z', however when saying 'us(e)ual' the sound changes to an 's', not 'sh'.

Iain
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1368
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh. Depends on what type of pronunciation you are using Wink For the word "usually" I use the sound mentioned by the speaker initially (the "je" in "je" suis in French, for example.) That sound is the voiced version of the "sh" sound. If that's the one you want, you just have to get them to understand the idea of voicing. (using "f", "v" and/or "s" "z"--they can put their hands on their necks and feel the difference.) Then they can voice a "sh" and voila (well maybe voila.) Anyway, there are other variations of the "usually" pronunciation, for mine is American English.
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dduck



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 265

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we're talking about the same things. I pronounce usually with the french /je/ sound, but when I think of 'sh' I think of /s/ugar or telling someone to be quiet, e.g. shhhhh! Perhaps, the 'sh' is shorter in usually than sugar.

Iain
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1368
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dduck wrote:
I think we're talking about the same things. I pronounce usually with the french /je/ sound, but when I think of 'sh' I think of /s/ugar or telling someone to be quiet, e.g. shhhhh! Perhaps, the 'sh' is shorter in usually than sugar.

Iain


Interesting Iain. I don't know how you can say "Perhaps, the 'sh' is shorter in usually than sugar." and say you pronounce it with the French /je/ sound. To me, they are different sounds. Webster's College Dictionary (American English Wink ) gives the sound as "zh" which is the French sound. I can't compare that sound with the sound in "sugar" except to say it is the voiced equivalent. It is like comparing /s/ and /z/. /z/ is the voiced partner of /s/, but they are separate.
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first_sino_madness



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lorikeet wrote:
you just have to get them to understand the idea of voicing. (using "f", "v" and/or "s" "z"--they can put their hands on their necks and feel the difference.)


This makes sense to me. I'll try this out next class and let you know if this worked or not.

Thanks very much to both respondents for your input.

Cheers
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Attila



Joined: 28 Sep 2004
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about playing Tom Jones singing It's not unusual?
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PapaDoc



Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 1
Location: Shaghai

PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 1:46 pm    Post subject: "Teaching pronunciation of 'usually'"Most of the s Reply with quote

Most of the sounds that are difficult for Chinese are made more difficult by their tendency to make short sounds. The shortest sound in English is as long as the longest in Mandarin. Many also try to talk quickly to impress others, particularly in Shaghai.

I approach all difficult words with exaggerated long sounds. This makes it simpler for them. They can make big changes more easily than subtle changes. They can always make the exaggeration less later when they have conquered it.

In the case of usually I break it down into three sounds:
1. U (ewe)
2. s (je)
3. ly (lee)

The je can be first approached with a hard j, as in June, and then softened. Get them to try and say Sh simultaneously with J later.

With all pronunciation problems the use of a mirror is a marvellous aid. They can see their face and mouth and compare it with yours. When they attempt the sound, make sure they look at the mirror not you. I carry a small shaving mirror for this purpose.

In Northeast China wave is also an interesting one.
The sounds must be very long at first to get the transition.

In the south thank you becomes sank you because of the lazy tongue syndrome. Make them stick it out so that they can see it in the mirror.
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1368
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 3:11 pm    Post subject: Re: "Teaching pronunciation of 'usually'"Most of t Reply with quote

PapaDoc wrote:

In the south thank you becomes sank you because of the lazy tongue syndrome. Make them stick it out so that they can see it in the mirror.


I don't think I'd classify it as "lazy tongue." It's just an unnatural (to them) articulation. I am careful, however, about telling students to stick out their tongues, having had some wonderful sounding "th" sounds that looked pretty ridiculous. I tell them they have to put their tongue between their teeth to make the sound, but that they should use a mirror to see how they look. It's not necessary to see a lot of tongue in order to make the sound.
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mooney47



Joined: 15 Sep 2004
Posts: 8
Location: Guangzhou, Guangdong

PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2004 3:42 am    Post subject: guangdong pronunciation issues Reply with quote

first_sino_madness wrote:
Hi Lorikeet,

FWIW s or sh is not a problem here. I live in Shanghai.


I've noticed it's not a problem in Guangzhou either. I used to have a lot of trouble in Shandong with this word.

So, I expected in Guangzhou same thing. But, no. I was a bit disappointed, because I had to rediscover what words they had trouble pronouncing.

One thing they have trouble hearing as well as saying is the difference between 'bad' and 'bed' or 'Madison' and medicine. Anyone else know any trouble words in Guangzhou?

www.thekungpaochicken.com/chinesedialecttest.html
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1368
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2004 9:38 am    Post subject: Re: guangdong pronunciation issues Reply with quote

mooney47 wrote:
first_sino_madness wrote:
Hi Lorikeet,

FWIW s or sh is not a problem here. I live in Shanghai.


I've noticed it's not a problem in Guangzhou either. I used to have a lot of trouble in Shandong with this word.

So, I expected in Guangzhou same thing. But, no. I was a bit disappointed, because I had to rediscover what words they had trouble pronouncing.

One thing they have trouble hearing as well as saying is the difference between 'bad' and 'bed' or 'Madison' and medicine. Anyone else know any trouble words in Guangzhou?

www.thekungpaochicken.com/chinesedialecttest.html


I should have said "Cantonese speakers" instead of "Chinese speakers" so I am surprised you have no trouble with students distinguishing s and sh in Guangzhou. There are usually problems with s and z and l and r among others as well.
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