by 台大外文系副教授 史嘉琳 Karen Steffen Chung
Based on this handout:
First, pronounce each word from each group.
Second, listen to yourself or find someone to listen to you to make sure if you are able to pronounce them clearly and precisely.
Now, how do you feel about it? Well, according to Karen, these are the so called typical- easy- confusing words for Taiwanese only. Do you agree?
Karen points out three key points of how to pronounce correctly, which are echo, listen and repeat, and read aloud with the model with the same speed and keep up with the rhythm.
1. Echo- Only listen to the model, which can be a TV show or series, carefully without making any voice, and let the voice in your brain echo. 4~7 units are enough for this practice.
2. Listen and repeat- Imitate the echo you hear.
3. Read aloud with the audio file with the same speed and rhythm.
It is very important that people should not pretend they know everything, especially teachers, and learners should be encouraged that to make mistakes is a treasure. To pronounce clearly and correctly is not only for ourselves, but also for other people because it would make it easier for other people while you are listened to. Karen also points out the difference of the ways to memorize words between Chinese and English. Chinese people pay more attention on shapes while the English speakers do on sounds. That is why Chinese people tend to think too much when talking because they have to transfer shapes into sounds, which means that they do not react to a word intuitively, but thinking.
Listening without understanding is useless. Many people like to listen to the radio programs to feel safe; however, this might turn to be a waste of time, especially they do not actually know what they are listening to and what they are listening for. Karen suggests that learners should spend more time listening, pausing, and repeating. Furthermore, stay on an accent, and do not mix them. Learners have to be able to tell standard English and slang, or their pronunciation will become confusing.
Want to be standard? Listen to any English programs for 10 minutes every day, and you will see!
Q1.Is it OK for a very young kid to learn English?
A1: It depends on how well the teacher's English is. Once the teacher can pronounce correctly, the learners are able to imitate and pronounce well.
Q2. Should the teachers correct students' pronunciation?
A2: In the beginning, teachers should not only set a good model of standard English speakers, but teach the students the rules of pronunciation; therefore, the learners might be able to imitate correct English. Less mistakes will be made.
Please get to Karen's facebook if you have questions. Check this for details.