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correcting a chinese pronunciation problem

 
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francesen



Joined: 15 Sep 2006
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:55 am    Post subject: correcting a chinese pronunciation problem Reply with quote

I'll begin with a story. A friend of mine was teaching in a Chinese middle school. He asked the students 'what food do you like?'. The students didn't understand, 'food? what is food?'. Even the Chinese teacher didn't recognize it. My friend kept saying the word, becoming more and more frustrated as of course they knew it! The a few minutes later the Chinese teacher gets it: 'oh! you mean food-a!' The children suddenly understand, 'food-a, yes food-a!'

It's a terrible problem, and some of my university students still put an 'a' sound on the end of words. Has anyone tried any methods of correcting this? I just don't know where to begin. Should I devote some classroom time to it, or should I spend some time with those that make the sound and try to correct them. Not really sure what to do.. Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks-a!
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blackmagicABC



Joined: 18 Feb 2008
Posts: 37
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Except for an "n" sound Chinese words never end in a consonant sound. It is extremely hard for many Chinese students to pronounce the difference between cap, cat and cab for example because they either produce the exact same sound "ca" for every word or they over emphasize the final sound as in your example.
It is interesting to note that if many or most people speak like that they start considering that the norm. It is not by any means a rare instance of what you have mentioned.
The students need to be corrected from the time they start learning as it is very habit forming. Many people in Hong Kong and Singapore put a "la" at the end of certain words or sentences and trust me it is very difficult to stop doing that. I am a native speaker and I picked up the habit. It was hard to kick.
As for fixing the problem, the students need to make aware of what is wrong and as soon as they can really hear the difference they can start correcting it themselves. Depending on what exactly you are teaching and how much time you have I would start with short vowel one syllable words and make reading lists that the students can read and record themselves doing so. You can then, by listening to the recordings, figure out where they have a problem. You will find that it is much easier for them to pronounce an ending "t" as opposed to an ending "d".
Even better would be to also have a recording where you read the list yourself and have them listen to it a few times at home before they record. If you are teaching a grammar lesson or conversation lesson try to think of activities where they would use the words of the word list for example present continuous tense:
He is taking a cab. The fat cat is in a bad cab. It is also taking a cab. If they are young kids play bingo where thay have to make sentences with the words of the word list but it has to be associated with what you are really supposed to teach.
I hope this helps at least a little. You have to understand though that words ending with consonants are very foreign to them.
If you are teaching Uni students it may be much more difficult. Try to gauge the seriousness of the problem. If they would be understood when they speak then they really just need to expand their ability to listen.
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longshikong



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:01 am    Post subject: Re: correcting a chinese pronunciation problem Reply with quote

francesen wrote:
'what food do you like?'.


Depends on how the question was asked. If your friend used connected speech patterns that children drilled individual words will not be able to parse, they'll inevitably hear: What foo do you like?
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ischen



Joined: 02 Jul 2013
Posts: 3
Location: Kaohsiung,Taiwan

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:07 pm    Post subject: Re: correcting a chinese pronunciation problem Reply with quote

francesen wrote:
I'll begin with a story. A friend of mine was teaching in a Chinese middle school. He asked the students 'what food do you like?'. The students didn't understand, 'food? what is food?'. Even the Chinese teacher didn't recognize it. My friend kept saying the word, becoming more and more frustrated as of course they knew it! The a few minutes later the Chinese teacher gets it: 'oh! you mean food-a!' The children suddenly understand, 'food-a, yes food-a!'

It's a terrible problem, and some of my university students still put an 'a' sound on the end of words. Has anyone tried any methods of correcting this? I just don't know where to begin. Should I devote some classroom time to it, or should I spend some time with those that make the sound and try to correct them. Not really sure what to do.. Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks-a!


You have to emphasize that when pronouncing the word do not add [a] at the end of the word. Just end it with the [d] sound. You have to correct them immediately and let them know that pronouncing words with an [a] sound where there shouldn't be is the wrong way to pronounce the word in English. Tell them they are still saying the Chinese equivalent of the English word. I noticed a lot of Taiwanese students and adults say Facebook-a and they also pronounce Skype with the long [e] vowel. They say "Skypee." Not sure why Chinese people add the extra vowel sound at the end of many English words. I am going to ask one of my co-workers who is Taiwanese and teaches English. I am curious as to why that is done when saying English words.
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silencedobetter



Joined: 02 Apr 2014
Posts: 43
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:46 am    Post subject: Ending consonants are hard for them Reply with quote

For ending consonants "m" "b" "p"- I remind them to close their lips in the end. For ending consonants "d", "t" or "n" , I emphasize on them putting their tongue behind their front teeth. Instead of asking them to simply sound it, I emphasize on the position of their lips and tongue. Having a mirror in class can also be helpful.
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