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Help with "er" sound

 
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rmunk



Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:23 am    Post subject: Help with "er" sound Reply with quote

I'm teaching Japanese students and it is difficult for them to create the "er" sound, such as in, turn, burn early,fur, etc.

Have looked on the internet but not much. Any help would be great!
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Lorikeet



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

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's some discussion here:
http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/teacher/viewtopic.php?t=1257

(a few posts down from yours Wink )
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Pronunci



Joined: 21 Apr 2005
Posts: 23
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:24 am    Post subject: It is not the er sound. Reply with quote

I think that you meant the UR sound. Asian people like me always have a hard time saying the UR sound. For me, I didn't know that the word world is pronounced as wurld. So I pronounced as wald. After I knew that the UR sound as in early, it was much easier for me to practice pronouncing the word world. However, in order to correct my pronunciation, I had to say the sound as two sounds. Gradually, I can speak them as one sound. In my program, I list the words by patterns.

Here is a list of words for the UR sound with the pattern of IR.
bird, birth, circle, confirm, dirt, dirty, firm, first, flirt, girl, shirt, sir, skirt, stir, third, thirsty, thirteen, thirty, virtual, virtue.

I can share with you that most English learners will not have trouble saying the word such as sir. Once they know the other words share the same UR sound as in sir, they will correct their pronunciation in no time. You can check out my program at http://www.PronunciationPatterns.com/download.html


Xin
http://www.PronunciationPatterns.com
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Lorikeet



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

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm curious as to why you call it the "ur" sound instead of the "er" sound, which is what most of us use to describe the sound in "teacher" "doctor" "fir" "sure" "heard" etc.; many spellings for the same sound.
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Pronunci



Joined: 21 Apr 2005
Posts: 23
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lorikeet, if you look up Americen phonetic transcript (using dictionary.com), work will be writen like wurk. Plus, if you use er to represent the ur sound, how do repesent the sound in air, hair, bear, fair, etc. I uses er to represent the sound in air, bear, fair, etc because the air is pronouncd as the short e sound + the r sound.

Also, the er in teacher is not pronounced as the UR sound because it is pronounced as the schwa sound + r sound and that is because the stress is on the first syllable tee.

Xin
http://www.PronunciationPatterns.com
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Lorikeet



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

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pronunci wrote:
Lorikeet, if you look up Americen phonetic transcript (using dictionary.com), work will be writen like wurk. Plus, if you use er to represent the ur sound, how do repesent the sound in air, hair, bear, fair, etc. I uses er to represent the sound in air, bear, fair, etc because the air is pronouncd as the short e sound + the r sound.

Also, the er in teacher is not pronounced as the UR sound because it is pronounced as the schwa sound + r sound and that is because the stress is on the first syllable tee.

Xin
http://www.PronunciationPatterns.com


Thank you for your explanation. Being in the U.S., I prefer to use "er" when just explaining it to my class informally. If I use some kind of transcription, I use schwa r for that sound. I use open E r for the "air" sound in transcription. I tend to use a modified IPA. I know the problem with dictionaries, although ESL dictionaries tend more to IPA now.

In my speech, the "er/ur" sound in "teacher" and in "sure" are the same. I know it isn't the same everywhere else.
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Pronunci



Joined: 21 Apr 2005
Posts: 23
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lorikeet,

That is why sometimes phonetic transcripts are so confusing since they are so many of them. It makes learning pronunciation like hell, at least for me. Pardon me! After I learned phonics and the standard American Phonetic Alphabet, I couldn't go back to IPA, even though IPA has its own merit, because it was so obvious to remember the pronunciation of new words. By the way, I know Americans use phonics all the time to learn the pronunciation of new words.

Trust me, English learners, at least for mathmatic-inclined students like me, always look for patterns in English pronunciation and grammar. I saw a TV show talking about even the babies under 2 are constantly looking for patterns in sounds and numbers. That is why learning to speak is natural to kids. It was very fascinating because babies were not taught to look for patterns.

Last, I really think that ESL shall ditch teaching IPA and use APA instead. Phonics has made a true difference in my pronunciation at least. However, exceptions have to be taught when the patterns are taught, otherwise, it will cause confusion because it happened to me.

It was nice exchanging ideas with you in this forum.


Xin
http://www.PronunciationPatterns.com
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Lorikeet



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

PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't "teach" IPA. In fact, I usually use my own symbols. For example, I use CaC for the sound in bat (consonant a consonant). I use CaCe for the sound in "face" etc. I do that when I am teacher sound/spelling correspondence in my ESL classes. In my pronunciation class, however, I use the IPA symbols briefly so we all know which sound we are talking about. I imagine whichever one you learned is the one that is easiest to use. Phonics, as far as I understand it, is learning to "sound out" words, and learning that there is a sound that corresponds to a letter or letter combination (at least most of the time.) I imagine it's the most difficult for a speaker of Chinese since Chinese doesn't use an alphabet or a syllabary (unless you count pinyin.)
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Pronunci



Joined: 21 Apr 2005
Posts: 23
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lorikeet Wrote
Quote:
I don't "teach" IPA. In fact, I usually use my own symbols. For example, I use CaC for the sound in bat (consonant a consonant). I use CaCe for the sound in "face" etc. I do that when I am teacher sound/spelling correspondence in my ESL classes. In my pronunciation class, however, I use the IPA symbols briefly so we all know which sound we are talking about. I imagine whichever one you learned is the one that is easiest to use. Phonics, as far as I understand it, is learning to "sound out" words, and learning that there is a sound that corresponds to a letter or letter combination (at least most of the time.) I imagine it's the most difficult for a speaker of Chinese since Chinese doesn't use an alphabet or a syllabary (unless you count pinyin.)


You are teaching phonics. The short A sound in bat and the long A sound in face is following the silent E rule. I guess that phonics has been with Americans since the elementry school, so you don't think much of it just like I don't think about PingYing when I speak Chinese.

Sounding out words is exactly what English learners need. Since they don't know phonics, they use IPA to help them to sound out words and remember the pronunciation of words. Here is an article about using phonics to better pronunciation which you have been using in your classroom.
http://elc.polyu.edu.hk/ELSC/material/Pronunciation/better3.htm#phonics-phonetic

By the way, have you visited my website at http://pronunciationpatterns.com/professional_version_scr_shots.htm? I am providing a phonics software solution to adults like me who don't know anything about phonics. I will be glad to receive feedbacks from you.

Xin
http://www.PronunciationPatterns.com
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oceanbreeze



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry but I'll have to disagree that the APA is easier and more useful than the IPA. I studied both phonetic alphabets and found the IPA much easier to learn and not forget. Remembering a few basic ones can actually help you remember others you may forget, just by using a bit of common sense.

I would give some concrete examples if I knew how to insert phonetic symbols in this message but I will try to illustrate. For instance, if you know the sound of the schwa and the /I/ symbol, it wouldn't be difficult to guess the sound produced when the two come together as a diphthong, as in the words near, hear, clear, fear etc.

Of course, we can't overlook the different learning styles of individuals. What may be easier for one may be difficult for the other and vica versa. But I would still claim that the IPA is easier to learn. No offence! Smile [/code]
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Pronunci



Joined: 21 Apr 2005
Posts: 23
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I would give some concrete examples if I knew how to insert phonetic symbols in this message but I will try to illustrate. For instance, if you know the sound of the schwa and the /I/ symbol, it wouldn't be difficult to guess the sound produced when the two come together as a diphthong, as in the words near, hear, clear, fear etc.

Of course, we can't overlook the different learning styles of individuals. What may be easier for one may be difficult for the other and vica versa. But I would still claim that the IPA is easier to learn. No offence!


Dear Oceanbreeze, none taken. As you said, one person may find one system is easier than the other one because they are so used to it. However, people shall always explore a better way to learn if one is not working for them. I know IPA was not working for me and luckly I learned phonics on a kids TV show which helped me improve my pronunciation.
I also got feedback from some of my customers to provide IPA in my program. And I did it. Nevertheless, from my deep heart, I will say APA is much easier to learn than IPA.

In your example, I don't even need to learn what the symbol /I/ sounds like because I can think the words near, hear, clear, and fear as nir, hir, clir, and fir and the i as the short I sound. Do you know how hard for an non-auditory person to remember a sound? I know it. If I know that near is pronounced as nir and the short I sound is pronounced as in the letter I in fit, I can easily know how to pronounce near.

Another example, I mentioned above the ur sound. In IPA, you have to write it as a weird symbol. In APA, you will learn the ur sound as in the words turn, burn, curve, nurse, etc. If you write the IPA symbol to Americans, I bet that more than 90% of them will not know what the heck is that. However, if you write a made-up word as vurmal, they will figure out that ur is pronounce as the ur sound.

Also, in APA, you can group the vowel sounds as the long AEIOU, OO (a bar on the top) and short sounds AEIOU and OO (a check on the top). It is just so easy to remember them. IPA, Wow, they always look weird for me.

Here is my example, the word bake in IPA as beIk roughly. For students, they have to remember the word spelled as bake and phonetic spelling as beIk. Don't you think that it is too much for student to remember two spellings for one word and there are thousands of words to remember? In APA, you know the rule that the letter a in bake is pronounced as the letter A itself. So you don't have to remember the phonetic spelling at all and your students can just read it as bak. The key to be successful on anything is that you always find a way to kill two or more birds with one stone.

I hope that you can look into the phonics and APA because I can sure you that your students will find it extremely easy even though they may not work for everybody.

Good luck,


Xin
http://www.PronunciationPatterns.com
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harmony



Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 34
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In response to the priginal poster's question of how to teach "er" or "ur" or whatever means you prefer I have found one method that has proven successful with Japanese students.

What I do is tell them to imitate an angry dog by making an errrr sound. Most people are able to do this and it usually results in many laughs.

Once this is done correctly, they have it and are usually able to incorporate it into whatever word has the sound by separating the sounds slowly and gradually combining them. "work" for example becomes "wa" growl like a dog "err" and "ka" I'm writing "wa" and "ka" but don't actually pronounce a vowel sound. (they don't usually have trouble with this) We then gradually combine the sounds until we get "work" as it it pronounced. Part of the trick is getting them to notice what their tongues are doing when they growl. After a bit of practice they remember and are able to self correct when they fall into their old patterns. This example, however, is being used from an American pronunciation of the word as the British pronounce it differently. Also, it may sound childish but works fine with adults and children alike in my experience. Try it out and see what happens! Smile
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joysequim



Joined: 03 Dec 2006
Posts: 1
Location: Sequim, Washington

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 9:32 am    Post subject: correct pronunciation: L and R Reply with quote



I just happened across this forum, and I find it fascinating. My personal belief is that the main goal of studying a second language is to be able to COMMUNICATE with others. In all of the previous postings, it seems to me that both students and instructors are overanalyzing on how to correctly pronounce R and L . Let's have some fun with learning the English language.

Face it, American kids do crazy things with their mouths and tongues, even from baby days! And for students whose language is Asian, well, don't they always ASSUME that they will have difficulty making these sounds? Let's help them relax and learn.

It seems to me that in Asian languages (at least in Japanese), students have great difficulty in differentiating between L and R, because neither of these sounds really exist in their language. (They think their language has the sound of R, but it is really closer to a soft sound of d.)

Therefore, my approach is to deal with only one sound at a time, and I usually start with the L sound. I may give each student a lollipop, and ask them to LICK the LOLLIPOP. I may ask them to imagine they are taking singing lessons, and that the music instructor insists that they sing up and down the scale using the syllable LA ..LA...LA. We usually do this as a group, and sometimes with eyes closed, so they feel less self conscious. Then we may break into pairs and continue practice. The tongue needs to be relaxed to pronounce the sound of L. I sometimes use small mirrors and ask them to look at how the tongue sticks out when it is licking a lollipop.(In some languages, it may be considered very rude to have the tongue sticking out of the mouth.) I ask them to look in the mirror at home while singing the scale with La...La...La. I may ask them to use the newspaper and highlight words with L. The whole point is to OVERTEACH the pronunciation of the L sound until the students can recognize it and pronunce it correctly whenever they see it. I may give them a paragraph (containing many words with L in it), and ask them to read it aloud to a partner. They NEED hear their own voices pronouncing the L sound correctly. The partner needs to monitor the reading, and help the other student make corrections as necessary.

Is this too simple, or might be considered too silly by advanced students? Well, it all depends on how important they perceive the correct pronounciation to be. And if they realize that American people may make fun of their poor pronunciation, it usually becomes very important, whether or not it seems silly. (Singing songs with lots of L sounds is good, too.) "hey, lolly, lolly, lolly...hey, lolly, lolly, lo" is a good one, with teacher doing the verse, and students coming in on the chorus. Silly or not, I have found that this approach really works.

Since I'm a newbie to the forum, perhaps this posting is too long already, so I'll save my suggestions for improving the proununciation of R for another time. It's off to LULLABYE LAND for me just now. (I could not find a smiley face that looked sleepy.) Joy
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