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Private student witl lisp

 
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Brix



Joined: 28 Sep 2005
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:43 am    Post subject: Private student witl lisp Reply with quote

I have a private Korean student with fairly good pronunciation.

But he has a lisp.

The "s" sound is pronounced as the "th" sound in "third," or "Earth."

Any ideas on:

1. How to approach it, and

2. What exercises can be done?


Will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Lorikeet



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

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm curious. Does he lisp in Korean?
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EH



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 174
Location: USA and/or Korea

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that Lorikeet's question is absolutely key. If the student only lisps in English than it might just be a common case of overcompensation--Korean doesn't have a phonemic /th/ sound so a lot of Korean English speakers use /th/ more than they should once they learn the sound, just so they won't use it too rarely by mistake. In a case like this, you just have to point out the problem to the student, and practice oral reading and controlled conversations with lots of feedback about the student's /th/ vs /s/ performance. The problem may not ever completely go away, but it can get a lot better with practice and better awareness.

If the student lisps in Korean, too, then it's more difficult. Ideally, the student should go to a speech-language pathologist for speech therapy. You can find a local SLP by going to www.ASHA.org and clicking on Find a Professional.

If you're outside the US, though, and speech therapy isn't necessarily an option then here are some basic tips:

1) There are two possible tongue positions for good /s/ sounds. The one that works best, usually, is with the tongue tip slightly rounded (front sides up, front middle down) and the tip almost touching the space at the top of the upper front teeth. The sides of the tongue all the way back along the tongue touch the molars to seal off the air and prevent it from escaping anywhere besides between that rounded tongue tip and the upper teeth. There are some people who make good /s/ sounds with their tongue tip bunched down behind the bottom front teeth. The air then escapes between the upper front teeth and the middle of the tongue. Personally, I prefer the first tongue placement, though.

2) If a student has an interdental lisp then the tongue tip usually is not properly rounded and is not tense enough to stay in position; it slumps down so it's almost between the teeth, or sometimes even sticks out between the teeth.

3) SLPs work on a bunch of things--unique to each case--to get proper articulation going. Among them are jaw stabilization, awareness/self-monitoring of tongue position, and lots and lots of practice. You may or may not be able to do this yourself. It probably wouldn't hurt if you tried. But please recommend therapy to the student if that is at all possible.
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Brix



Joined: 28 Sep 2005
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lorikeet and EH,

Great question, on whether he lisps in Korean.

I've been trying to listen for the "s" and/or "th" lisp sound when he speeks to his parents at the end of the lesson.

I'll find out Tuesday.

I also want to be more direct, and just ask but I want to wait until I know.

Thanks a lot for the comments, I'll find out in a couple of days.


Brix.
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EH



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 174
Location: USA and/or Korea

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's probably okay to be direct about it. Tell the student and family that you'd like to work on pronunciation of /s/ in English. Ask if this is an issue in Korean as well. If it is an issue in Korean, they are very likely already aware of it and glad someone is talking about solutions. If it isn't an issue in Korean you'll just get worried blank looks and then you can assure them that there's no problem, you'll just work on English pronunciation.

BTW, how old is the student? It might be useful to know that /s/ is one of the latest developing sounds in English; only by age 6 or 7 have about 90% of kids mastered it. It is also one of the latest developing sounds in Korean.

-EH
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stromfi



Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi EH,

I was just absolutely fascinated by what you wrote in your last post here: "... /s/ is one of the latest developing sounds in English; only by age 6 or 7 have about 90% of kids mastered it." Where can I find similar information about the other English sounds on the net?
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moonchild7903



Joined: 10 Dec 2005
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pronunciation and accent difficulties are the hardest to solve because they involve motor skills, particularly the use of the muscles of the mouth. A Korean student of mine had a similar problem. I solved it by teaching him the different areas of articulation in the mouth.

The /s/ is a dental fricative sound. Teach your student to make his/her upper and lower teeth meet and force air to come out of his/her mouth. That's how the /s/ is produced.

The /th/ sound or 'theta' is produced by touching the tongue to the back of the upper teeth. Once that position is established, force air out of the mouth to produce the sound.

Both sounds are voiceless consonants. To produce the voiced cousins of /s/ and theta, /z/ and eth, make your student touch his through and use his voice as he pushes the air out of his mouth. Hope it helps you.
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EH



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 174
Location: USA and/or Korea

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm so frustrated. I just posted a big message and now it asked me to sign in again and apparently erased the whole thing. To recap, briefly...

Stromfi:
Take a look at www.ASHA.org. They have info on normal and disordered speech development. I'm not sure if the norms are on there or not, though. You could try searching for Templin (1957), Poole (1934), Smit (1993b) and Wellman et al. (1957). Those are the studies that established the artic norms in English. Templin is especially famous, and Smit is the most recent big one. If you have any specific questions ask away and I'll try to get the answers for you.

Moonchild7903:
/s/ in connected speech is not made with the teeth together. The jaw is slightly open. Try it while saying reading this sentence aloud and you'll see what I mean. Jaw stabilization and tongue position are really key, as mentioned in my other post.
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CEJ



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EH wrote:

It might be useful to know that /s/ is one of the latest developing sounds in English; only by age 6 or 7 have about 90% of kids mastered it. It is also one of the latest developing sounds in Korean.
-EH


Wow, now I did learn something new. I never knew this. In comparative linguistics terms, I believe the /th/ sounds are more 'marked'--in a non-technical sense that simply means we might expect more languages to have the s as opposed to the th.

English is something of a challenge in this department because it has s, sh, th sounds and then parallel voiced versions.

Why physiologically speaking is the s sound so late in being mastered? Because the tongue protrudes too much and ends up towards the th in sound? And what do young English speakers typically substitute as an approximant? th? Japanese, btw, has an s/sh distinction between the sounds phonetically and positionally overlap. The Japanese sh also overlaps with the Japanese h/f sound.
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CEJ



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought some more about the s, sh, and th sounds, and another thing to consider in connected speech (or models of it): assimilation.

Considering the point of articulation (and I would say there is variation, I agree with EH on that, and there is also secondary articulation as well) the s sound , for one, is set to interact with phonetically/articulatorily similar ones.

Try saying repeated, rapidly:

1. Face this
2. Nice ship
3. Place your
4. Horse ride
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Superhal



Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With Korean students, their parents feel that this lisp is normal when speaking in English and there are even surgeries for it, even if they don't lisp in Korean, but I haven't had any problems getting Korean students to make sounds.
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EH



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 174
Location: USA and/or Korea

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

surgeries, i.e. clipping the lingual fremulum. Yeesh, don't get me started. As if that would help! Can you believe people do that? If a kid can stick his/her tongue out past his lips, then there's no tongue tie, and no need for surgery.

That's my rant for the day...
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