Skkn asian peopls’ problem and mistakes in english pronunciation

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II. Problems in pronunciation 1. The production of certain sounds and sound groups (clusters): In general, the sounds and sound groups that often trouble us are/ /etc Not nly are they difficult in initial positions but they are specially difficel in final positions as well. The reason is that such sounds do not exist in Asian languages and are, therefore, a distinctive feature of English. 2. Sound linking: This also causes a lot of trouble because we do not often link sounds in our language. We can always observe cases like: This is a matter of course" or "she's a teacher of English". Sound linking sometimes makes it impossible to understand even very short and simple sentences: "What's that?" or "How much is it". 3. Stress, rhythm in tonation. Vietnamese is a tone language. The strees usually depends on the tone of each word. Spoken with different tones, one word may have entirely different meanings: (water) melon, coconut, pineappe, to lean... "da dõa, døa, dùa". On the contrary, an English word usually retains its basic lexical meaning no matter what stress and intonation it goes with: .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. pineapple pineapple pineapple Unlike Vietnamese, English stress and intonation are so varied and changeable. The same word might have the stress now on the first syllable, now on the second (this will be dealt with later). The intonation is now like the take off an aeroplane, now like the singing of birds, now "like the whispering of leaves". Apart from stress and intonation, rhythm is no less typical of English, either. As a matter of fact, English rhythm is very regular. The stressed words behave fairly like notes in music. If they are close to each other, we have to slow down. But when they are for apart we have to speed up". English is, therefore, "admired and praised" as a languge spoken like music. We think, it really deserves this compliment. It goes without saying that the above – mentioned problems are the cause, the source of mistakes for us. Typical mistakes are now presented as follows: 1. Omission of sounds. a. Omission of/z, s/ As has been discussed, in many cases, English consonants at the end of words must be pronounced but we often drop them, e.g: "My sister often gives me nice presents". Our tendency here is to leave out/z/of "give" and/s/of "presents" and say/ This mistake is more likely in "The building has got a large and beautiful dining hall next to the conference hall". When saying a long sentence like this, we are "vigilant" but when we can be "vigilant" against the sounds in the first words we are very likely to forget some in the last ones. Here we easily drop the / s/ of "conference" thus saying: "The building has got a large and beautiful dinning hall next to the/ ......../hall". Another cause of this mistake is that when we are up to "conference", our tongue gets lazy and tired, that is why that "tiring sound" is dropped. For this, I have drawwn out a rule: the sounds / z, s, ...., f, t.../are always pronounced, no matter where they stand except in assimilation cases. e.g: "Mary's shirt's nice but its colour's changed". Herre , we can see that/z/in "Mary's shirts assimilated by/ .........../but all other/z, s/ sounds are pronounced. b. Omission of/t,k/before/1, s/etc. Besides/z,s/, mistakes are also often made on dropping/t,k/when they go before/1,s/: Shortly, tightly, recently, modestly, honestly, outline, shirts, books, sticks etc. c. Omission of consonant groups. Not only single consonants are dropped but groups of them are dropped as well: "She often roasts meat." The kiosks are beautiful". Here/ts, ks 'are dropped. The reason is that there is/s/before them. 2. Addition of sounds (redundancy) Funnily enough, as opposed to omission there is addition. Some of us pronounce so carefully that every sound comes out too clearly. Some common mistakes are in "I''d like....; He asked me" etc. Some may even pronounce all eding sounds in sentences like: "Last week the lazy student came at eight o'clock". If a fussy woman spoke like that she wouldn't be able to quarrel. When fussy women quarrel they speak very quickly, do they? Here we can work out a rule for standard pronunciation; It might be: "The consonant sounds/t, d,k,m,n/etc. are nearly omitted in words final positions (except in sound linking and special cases). Concerning our English teaching on T.V, a few years ago, the English lady pronounced all ending sounds (in a sentence) very clearly because this is just for the sake of teaching. In real life, their sounds do not come out like that. In our opinion, for the third time she should have produced them normally so that the learner wouldn't have been affected by her exaggeration. Besides consonants, we often add unnecessary vowels to such words as "didn't, shorten, shouldn't, ordinary, interesting, history, clothes", "We might say/ 'didant, 'odinari/ etc. while in standard rapid speech, they may glide very quickly and sound strange to us: /'didn’t/ you go? It would "torture" the English ear if we pronounced these sentences wrongly: "I'm certain you didn't shorten the curtain" – Sure I didn't because that curtain shouldn't be shortened but just widened". The way to overcome this is to close our mouth and let the last syllable go out of the nose. 3. Poor sound linking. English people often link sounds even where there is no consonant before a vowel: law and order. The following sentences in rapid speech sound strange to us: "They are there", "How much is it? "You're eight, aren't you? "Even among native speakers, sometimes there is difficulty in understanding if the listener is not attentive. 4. Poor stressing: Stressing in English is extremely varied and typical mistakes are often seen here. Now respectively we will deal with both word stress and sentence stress. a. Word stress: As a rule, most of English words ending with - ish, - ist, - ice, - ness, etc. usually have the main stress on the first syllable but we often stress both the first and the last: - Finish, polish, boyish, whitish, childish. - Dentist, pianist, flutist, journalist. - Practice, service, office, notice. - Project, context, subject, object (nouns). - Decade, climate, surface, accurate, untimate, decorate, tolerate. Similarly, the words whose middle parts are: - us; - ist; - est; etc. also cause mistakes. Instead of the first, we stress the second syllable: "industry, modestly, forestry, ministry". The cause of these mistakes is that the syllables: - ist; - est; - ness; etc. look similar to Vietnamese words having the rising (s¾c) tone. It must also be noted here that some people who already know French before they learn English are likely to put a heavy stress on the last syllable of words like: "adjective, connective". These mistakes on word stress are a big cause to the difficulties in our listening comprehension especially when those syllables are pronounced with a falling tune: "The whiteness is perfect" said the architect to the pianist". Moreover, difficulty increases with compound words because the stress, in many cases, is now on the first syllable now on the second depending on their position. When they are attributes, it is on the first and moves to the second when they are predicatives: "She has a snow - white face" "Her face is snow white". If we tress on the wrong way, a word may become a grpup of words and vice versa thus leading to entirely different meanings. Even if there is a context, we can hardly understand each other; e.g: "Go and find him ther. He lisves near the'green house. - But I can't see any' green house. We can use mistakes to make up some jokes: - Vietnamese friend (at a barbecue table). Oh, there's ablue - bottle on the table. - Australian friend (4 metres from the table): Yes, I know. Why? - Vietnamese friend: Blue- bottles are dirty, you know. - Australian friend (surprised and annoyed): Nonsense! I've washed it care fuly. - Vietnamese friend: (very surprised too): ?? 6 - CONCLUSION. English has been learnt and tought widely so far as it has been regarded as a compulsory subject in the curriculum of schools and universities as well in Vietnam. More and more Vietnamese learners ar fully aware of the importance of the international language. It is tru that learning English is not easy at all, but it is an interesting and meaningful work. Finding it easy of difficult to learn English depends on the learners' specific purposes. however, it is undeniable that English phonology is very complicated. Most students of English often claim that English poses considerable problems because it is so different from the Vietnamse laguage. Therfore, it is very necessary for both teachers and students to be aware of the differences of the two languages - English and Vietnamese and of the roots of the problems so that they will find the appropriate solutions to the problems in the process of studying and training. Also, it is very important for both teachers and students to find their own shortcomings and errors they often make. Hopefully, this resarch will be practically theoretical and a little bit useful to both teachers and sutdents who are studying to become secondary school teachers at Hong Duc Universtity. It is my hope that my little knowledge and exprience will be suggestions for improvement for those who are intersested in studying English.
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