Mispronouncing English:A student who reads 100 words per minute clearly and precisely, pronouncing each word correctly, is much better to listen to than students whose faster reading slurs their speech, and makes their words incomprehensible. Reading fast often gets students into trouble, because they have not learned to pronounce every syllable in each word. You should not speak at a faster speed than 160 words per minute when reading or giving an Oral Presentation. While each word on it's own has a stress or accentuation on one particular syllable, those stresses are not supposed to dominate the sentence in which the words are used. Words are Stressed in a sentence to give them prominence (an importance) so that the listener knows the true message. The emphasis or stress we give to certain words, can change the grammatical meaning of the sentence.
Why can't People Understand my Words?
Conversational English for Chinese Students: Remedial Therapy.
So many students have told me that from a variety of sources, they have learned that if they can read fast, then it proves that they are good at reading. This is simply not true.
Whilst reading very slowly may show that you are not very good at reading, reading fast often gets students into trouble, because they have not learned to pronounce every syllable in each word.
There are 2 points that I want to discuss here. They are:
1. Reading Speed - and -
2. Natural Intonation.
1. Reading Speed.
When it involves News reading and giving speeches, one is (= you are) taught that you should not speak at a faster speed than 160 words per minute.
In Booklet No. 7 we looked at the following text entitled: Sightseeing in the UK. Notice now in the text, that I have indicated where the 145th and 160th words are.
As a Student, your aim should be to be able to read between 145 and 160 words in exactly one minute. This takes practice.
Travelling across Britain, visitors are struck by how green the countryside is all year round. The landscape is varied, from the flatlands in the south and east, to the hills and mountains of Scotland and Wales.
Despite having a high density of population in comparison with most European countries, there are huge tracts of quiet and unspoiled countryside. Centuries after the days of the industrial revolution, awareness of the importance of a clean and ecologically stable environment has grown, and the oft quoted "smog' of London is a thing of the past.
Problems and controversies still remain over pollution, but as we shall see later, there are now a large number of environmental groups ready to publicize such things and campaign for change.
Foreign visitors travelling around Britain then, will probably be surprised at the large areas of unspoiled countryside between the villages and towns. (145 words.)
Another thing they will note is that in many of the towns and villages they (160 words) pass through, they will come across many old historic buildings, which have been maintained with great pride.
The British it seems, have a strong sense of history and regard the preservation of such monuments as very important. They also like to remember those who have made significant contributions to British or international culture.
I have at times listened to students read 200 words in just one minute. Far from proving that they are good readers, it usually means that I don't understand what they are saying.
A student who reads 100 words per minute clearly and precisely, pronouncing each word correctly, is much better to listen to than students whose faster reading slurs their speech, and makes their words incomprehensible.
Many students need to slow down their reading, until they have mastered pronouncing words correctly. This advice often comes as a shock to them.
Your aim should be to read between 145 and 160 words per minute, but only if the listener can understand you.
Each word is comprised of one or more syllables. Those syllables are comprised of vowels and consonants. If you mispronounce, or fail to pronounce these vowels or consonants, this might not only cause you to be misunderstood, but you might in fact, be creating completely new sentences. Let me give you an example.
My father lost his knife in the river.
My father lost his life in the river.
These two sentences have completely different meanings. The only difference in their sound, is caused by the letters 'N' and 'L'. If you don't get this consonant right, you create a totally different sentence.
Not only is it important for you to be able to pronounce these consonants correctly, but when you read, you must make sure that you pronounce the words correctly. Some would call the second statement a redundancy, but in fact, whilst many students can pronounce 'N' and 'L' correctly, they have a bad habit when reading, of incorrectly pronouncing words that contain them.
When they read slowly, some students will read: "My father lost his KNife in the River, but when reading more quickly, will say: 'My father lost his life in the River'.
The ability to read quickly must not be developed at the expense of the listeners comprehension.
Practice reading ev-ver-ry, syl-la-ble, cor-rect-ly. As you can see, sometimes it requires changing the spelling of the word. The purpose of this is not to make you clearly and precisely pronounce every syllable in every word every time you read or speak quickly, because this is not usual.
However, even though in normal reading and speaking we native speakers do not accentuate every syllable, the words we read or speak are nevertheless heard correctly, because we either did form the syllables with our mouths, or bridged over them in a natural way. [An example would be saying: b'tween. It is possible to say between without hearing the 'b' or 'be', and without merely saying 'tween'.
This usually occurs when words with similar consonants run together. "I saw Bob between lunch and dinner.
The opposite problem to not pronouncing every syllable, is that of accentuating every syllable. When giving a precise reading, such as in a presentation or public speech, it is necessary to speak with absolute clarity. But in normal conversation, many words run together, sometimes because their first or last letter runs into the other word or because the unaccentuated co-joined syllables of the newly formed single word do not detract from our ability to hear and understand. Here are some examples from the 'Reading Text' above.
[visitors are] becomes visitorsar but not visitor/sar
[countryside is all] sounds like countrysigh/disall but not countrysighdisall
[south and] becomes "sao/thand"
[mountains of] becomes mountainsov (v not f) but not mountainsov
[huge tracts of] becomes huge tractsov
[controversies still] becomes countroversiestill
[surprised at] becomes surprise/dat - not surprise/dat
[old historic] becomes ol/distoric but not oldistoric
[which have] becomes whichav
[or international] becomes orin/ternational
These run together words are not accentuated because that would create a new and unnatural syllable.
One unnatural thing that some students do, (usually the best students) is that they overaccentuate intonation.
2. Natural Intonation.
Many students sound strange when they speak or read, because their speaking is not natural. Whenever I encounter this phenomenon, it is usually to be found in very good students who have a great ability to converse in English. I often wonder if they have all learned their intonation from the same source.
I'm now going to provide a paragraph from the 'Sightseeing in the UK' article, and I will highlight in bold black type, the words that would usually be emphasised.
Travelling across Britain, visitors are struck by how green the countryside is all year round. The landscape is varied, from the flatlands in the south and east, to the hills and mountains of Scotland and Wales.
This time I will use Red Highlights to demonstrate where some students incorrectly emphasise words and Syllables.
Travelling acrossBritain, visitors are struck by how green the countrysideis all yearround. The landscape is varied, from the flatlands in the south and east, to the hills and mountains of Scotland and Wales.While each word on it's own has a stress or accentuation on one particular syllable, those stresses are not supposed to dominate the sentence in which the words are used.
Words are Stressed in a sentence to give them prominence (an importance) so that the listener knows the true message. I'm going to demonstrate what I mean by using a 3 word sentence. Each time I use it, I have a different meaning, and this is demonstrated by the stress I give to one of the words.
I like you! [No particular stress - it means - I like you!]
I like you! means that even if others do not like you, that I do.
I like You! means that I don't like the other people (eg: in the room)
I like you! means I really do like you!
I like you! is said sarcastically and means that I don't like you.
I Liiiike yooouuu! has a sexual meaning.
The emphasis or stress we give to certain words, can change the grammatical meaning of the sentence.
How to fix pronunciation and intonation.
As a Chinese student you don't have much of an opportunity to talk to foreigners, so the only way you can effectively correct your problems, is to make a habit of reading while you listen to the text being read on a tape.
Warning: The slower the speaker on the tape speaks, the less natural will be the intonation. [Because when we speak really slow, we tend to use the individual word stress that would normally be missing in a natural sentence. You need to be listening to normal speed conversations.
Do you practice reading for 20 minutes each day?
Unfortunately this will not do you any good if your pronunciation and intonation are incorrect (off-key). If you practice just from a book, you will just make your poor skill habitual.
You must read while listening to the text that you are reading. This is the only way to learn correct pronunciation and intonation.
Vowels followed by the final Consonant 'L'
In article:No. 9 - "Is correct pronunciation Important?" - you were introduced to the difficulties that arise when the letters 'N' & 'L' are used in the wrong places, and what happens when you don't pronounce the final 'L' in words.
In that article I gave you an exercise to try, that involved pronouncing 'L' as lè, in order to learn where your tongue is in your mouth when you say the letter 'L'. That exercise does not always work, so now it is time for me to get you to do something strange. I want you to put a pair of chopsticks in your mouth. [ Yi shuang kuaizi ].
Open your mouth wide, hold the kuaizi tightly by the ends, push them straight back in your mouth as far as you can, then push them down hard onto your tongue. Now try saying Li. You should find that your tongue can only go to the back of your teeth. This is where it should be for the letter 'L'.
Sometimes students who say 'L' instead of 'N' can also learn the correct position of the tongue for saying 'N', by putting the kuaizi under the tongue and pushing up.
Sometimes these exercises don't work, and I have to find a word in Chinese in which the student does say the 'L' or the 'N', and teach them through the use of that word.
But here, our main purpose is to get you to pronounce 'L' correctly. The first thing you have to learn, is to see with your mind, where the 'L' is formed in your mouth, and the exercise with the kuaizi can do that. But it does require you to think and imagine.
So why is it so important? Well, lets now go through a list of words were the combination of vowel sounds and the letter 'L', will cause some students to say the wrong word.
........" L "............
'L' is pronounced as 'el'. But if you can't pronounce 'L', then 'el' becomes: 'Ow'(Pinyin "ao"), as in "Ow that hurt!" Other examples:
Bell converts to "Bow" as in 'The actor was bowing' (pinyin - B/ao) Cell converts to "Cow" Well converts to "Wow" Nell converts to "now" Hell converts to "how"
Words that convert to a sound but not a real word:
Gel will sound like "Gao" Mel will sound like "Mao" Quell will sound like "Ku-ao" Yell will sound like "Yao" Tell will sound like "Tao" Fell will sound like "Fao" Shell will sound like "Shao" Swell will sound like "Se-wow"
..........- ill -.............
In Article No. 9, we discussed the difference between the short " i " sound as in ship and the longer vowel sound as in sheep. In this following list of words, not only must you get the 'L' sound right, but the short vowel sound as well. If you get either or both sounds wrong, you end up with different ornonsensical words. For example:
Bill will sound like "beer" or "beal" Dill will sound like "dear" or "deal" Gill will sound like "gear" or "geal" Hill will sound like "hear" or "heel" Jill will sound like "jeer" or "jeal" Kill will sound like "kear" or "keel" Quill will sound like "queer" or "ke-wheel" Sill will sound like "sear" or "seal" Till will sound like "tear" or 'teal" Mill will sound like "mia" or "meal" Will will sound like "We're" or "wheel" Nil will sound like "near" or "kneel" Lill will sound like "leer" or "leal" Swill will sound like "sweer" or "sweel" Chill will sound like "cheer" or "cheal" Fill will sound like "fear" or "feel" Pill will sound like "pia" or "peel"
I apologise to New Zealanders whose accent makes some of these words correct. hehehehe!!
..... "orl" .......
We did the vowel 'A' with final consonant 'L' in Article No. 9
One Problem not discussed in that article was that many students can't pronounce the words "or" or "all" correctly. Instead they pronounce both as "war" or pronounce 'all' as "wall". For Example: Do you want Peace or War, is pronounced as: Do you want peace war war. (It is not "war war" / "or or" / "war or")
When you learned Pinyin, you learned the 'Ou' sound. De-ou Dou / Ke-ou Kou. The pinyin "ou" is not "We-ou" Wou (woe). Some students say 'War' and 'Wall' as "or and all".This is the opposite problem. Those students must practice saying Wŏ ài nĭ! WŏWŏWŏ 'War' or WŏWŏWŏ "Want".
Now here is a list of other words containing "all".
All sounds like or-lunless using American Accent. Ball sounds like bor-l Call sounds like cor-l Fall sounds like for-l Gaul sounds like gor-l Hall sounds like hor-l Mall sounds like mor-l Paul sounds like por-l Saul sounds like sor-l Tall sounds like tor-l Wall sounds like wor-l
********Words with "or" but not the "L" ********
Ore War Boar / Bore Caw / Core Tore Shore / sure Gore Door Floor Whore / hoar Jaw Law / lore More Gnaw / Nor Paw / pour /poor Raw / roar Saw / sore
Some confusing vowel sounds.
.......Ear / eer / ere ......
Pronounced something like the sound of the letter 'E' + the word 'are'
Here We're Beer Fear Gear Near Pier Queer Rear Sear Veer Year Weir Hear Tear Mia Shear Sheer Leer Deer
These words have the same vowel sound as "air". There is no pinyin equivalent (I think!). They have the same vowel sound as in Jié & Xié. The sound is like the 'e' in Education + 'r'.
Bear / Bare Care Dare Fare / fair Pear / Pair Rare Ware / where / we're Hair / hare There / their Stair / Share Tear / tare
This is a big problem for many students. They say such things as:
zay don't want to go zair because dare is somesing bad in dat place.
They don't want to go there because there is something bad in that place.
In the dictionary, there are 2 different 'th', and I believe that many students have only learned one - the wrong one. Also, for many students, it is just a case of bad habit.
To overcome this problem, you have to again use your thinking and imagination skills. You have to stick your tongue out of your mouth and bite on it (softly). Then you have to practice blowing air out of your mouth. Stick your tongue out as far as possible. You need to do this until that computer in your head (called a brain) finally works out how to do this without sticking your tongue all the way out of your mouth.
If you hold a piece of paper to your mouth, and it really moves when you do this, then you are probably doing it right. But if you are actually pronouncing an 'S' or 'Z' sound, then the paper will not move.
Once you think you have understood the idea, then practice saying the following words as two different words.
Th-ey / They Th-ing / Thing Th-ief/ Thief Th-ink/ Think Th-at/ That Th-ick/ Thick Th-is/ This Th-ought/ Thought (th-or-t) Th-anks/ Thanks Th-ee/ Thee Th-ere/ There Th-irsty/ Thirsty Th-rough / Through (same as threw) Th-ough / Though Th-orough / Thorough (th-are-ra) Th-orn / Thorn Th-rash/ Thrash Th-rong/ Throng Th-rive/ Thrive Th-rew/ Threw Th-row/ Throw Th-ree/ Three Th-irty/ Thirty Th-rift/ Thrift Th-reat/ Threat (th-ret) Th-ug / Thug (th-are-ge) Th-ud/ Thud Th-us/ Thus Th-en/ Then
Each time you must make sure that the paper in front of your mouth is jumping from the air coming out over your tongue but under your teeth. Not the sides of your mouth.
When you think you are doing it right, then say these two "words/syllables" faster and faster until they become just one word. Be careful - Pay attention: While many students can do "th" correctly when they do it on it's own, or when they pronounce one word as two syllables, when they combine them, they revert (go back) to bad habits and fail to pronounce 'Th' correctly.
I hope that his has been of help to you.
If nothing else - I'm sure you learned some new words.
Luo Laoshi has been a successful teacher of English as second language, because he learned how to break through students educational and cultural barriers, to connect with them on a personal basis; to motivate them to be successful in English by teaching them the Skills (mechanics) of language use. If the purpose of learning English is just to pass a grammar exam, then Chinese students would be better off studying Chinese grammar. Luo Laoshi believes that the key to student success in studying English, is to learn 'the language' first, and the grammar second. Since the Education System in China puts such an emphasis on passing grammar exams, many students never learn the language.
Improving Spoken English in Chinese Classroom Just answering questions with one or two words, or a phrase, is not a real conversation. It is more like a Police interrogation. In a real conversation, people share information, expressing their thoughts, opinions and ideas. If you want to have a real conversation then you must speak in whole sentences, using keywords [for effective communication,] and you must also learn to give Informative Answers.
Conversational English for Chinese Students: It does not matter if you do or do not like foreigners; or if you do or do not believe Chinese people should speak English; or if you will or will not use English later in life; or whether you did or did not have any other Major to choose from. What is important, is that you do your best to be successful in all your studies. The purpose of language is to enable you to communicate with others. If you can do this using good grammar and perfect accent and pronunciation, then that is wonderful. But if your knowledge of grammar is perfect, and your pronunciation is perfect, and your accent is perfect, but you can't talk to people, then all your knowledge and skill is useless.
Teach English in China: Reflection: Keywords: Changing Topics - Using keywords is very important, even if they are the wrong keywords. It helps us to make sure that we are both talking about the same thing. Speaking in whole sentences, using Keywords, and giving informative answers, is very important for effective communication. The key to Changing Topics in a conversation is to use the Key words of a question or an answer, to change the direction of the conversation.
What does Effective Communication mean? Effective Conversation! Effective conversation (communication) is a conversation in which no one gets confused by the other person's MEANING. The first thing you need to do to ensure effective communication is to use reflection (key words). The second thing is to ask Clarifying Questions; questions that try to find out the other person's true meaning. An effective conversation can also mean a conversation in which something is achieved. It can be a conversation in which two people both enjoy the conversation and learn something. We should never assume anything in conversation. We should make sure.
Effective Conversation and Group Discussions in English In Group Discussions, it is not enough to KNOW language skills, you actually have to be able to USE them. In order to be successful, you have to forget that you are shy; you have to develop a strong voice; you need to learn how to 'butt in', and of course, you need a good vocabulary. In a group discussion the 'topic of conversation' will change several times, as participants use their skills to avoid topics they do not wish to discuss, or to 'force' the group to discuss specific topics that skilled speakers wish to discuss. Group discussions are not 'orchestrated role plays' that can be practiced in advance.
Answering Questions with informative answers: Informative Answers make conversation more interesting. They make Changing Topics far more easy to do through the use of reflection. They make communication far more effective. Answering specific individual questions and actually communicating, are not the same thing. Informative answers are not just about giving the answer to one question. They are about communicating with the other person, and sharing with them something that you think might interest them or which you know that they either want or need to know.
Asking good questions in English: Closed Questions: In essence, closed questions do not ask for more than one piece of information. They are conversation killera - Open Questions: Open Questions are questions that provides people with an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings. - Multiple Questions: Multiple means 'more than one". "Multiple questions" ask more than one question at a time. - Informative Questions: If you ever find yourself wondering why a person is asking you certain questions, it means that the person has failed to make their question informative.
How to Think in English: Memorize means: "to learn by heart" - Understand means: To grasp the meaning of something or to have thorough acquaintance with it; to be thoroughly familiar with it. Just because you memorize something, does not mean that you understand it. When you give a presentation, make sure that you know and understand what you have written. If you do this, it is less likely that you will forget your place.
Introducing Yourself: Does an introduction require skill? In fact it does. This is so because of the nature of an introduction. An introduction is your presentation of yourself, and your skill or otherwise at doing this, will effect the other person's judgement about who and what you are. The essence of good public Speaking is first found in the Preparation. A good public speaker knows exactly what to say, because they have developed very good preparation skills.
Vowels and Consonants: They say: 'Pronunciation does not have to be exact!' and they are right! Sometimes! Exact pronunciation can make the difference between being understood and either shocking foreigners or causing them to fall on the floor laughing. You have to be careful with your vowels. Do you have 'Six' lessons or 'Sex' lessons? Blue eyes or blue arse? And do you like fighting or farting? Or do you just like eating "ships"?
Mispronouncing English: A student who reads 100 words per minute clearly and precisely, pronouncing each word correctly, is much better to listen to than students whose faster reading slurs their speech, and makes their words incomprehensible. Reading fast often gets students into trouble, because they have not learned to pronounce every syllable in each word. You should not speak at a faster speed than 160 words per minute when reading or giving an Oral Presentation. While each word on it's own has a stress or accentuation on one particular syllable, those stresses are not supposed to dominate the sentence in which the words are used. Words are Stressed in a sentence to give them prominence (an importance) so that the listener knows the true message. The emphasis or stress we give to certain words, can change the grammatical meaning of the sentence.
Some Fun with English Words Here are some oddities concerning the English Language. You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which, an alarm goes off by going on. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
Business English for Chinese Students: There are two inescapable observations when it comes to the topic of Business English. The first is that studying Business is about Learning Theoretical Knowledge and the second is that Studying English is not meant to be theoretical. It will not be until you are in the business environment that you get your hands on experience of the Business world, and at that time, you will need to recall all that you have learned at University about Business. The purpose of your studies is to give you the practical ability that you will need when you enter the English Speaking Business World. In terms of your education, If you get the top English score in China, but can't do the job you are hired to do, then it is clear that you have concentrated on quantity (exam results) instead of Quality (being successful in your learning). A quality student Understands what he has learned. A quantity Student, just gets good marks.
Foreign Trade Assignment: Many Chinese Students think that opening a business requires little more than finding suitable shop or office space. They know little about the legalities involved in starting up a business, of import / export licenses, tariffs, insurance, advertising, legal fees, demographic studies, business plans, office rentals or the initial cost of purchasing equipment. They express a desire to get rich working overseas but have no concept of overseas living costs. They have no concept of how various aspects of life are interdependent eg: how the price of oil effects life and business in general, and world trade in particular. They feel that someone should teach them rather than learning for themselves. Students need to learn how to research.
Business English Exams: The Chinese Educational System inherently leads students to believe that teaching is the process whereby students learn what the teacher says. Learning therefore, is the memorization of what the teacher teaches. Conversational English is about learning the skills of natural [business] conversation. The purpose of the test is merely to discover if the student has at least basic conversational ability. While social issues may not seem to have anything to do with business or politics, the fact is that when it comes to politics and business, one thing that is needed in every country is a stable social environment. Such environments are fostered by the benefits that result from the successful interplay between political decisions and business development.
Language Skills: Memorandum, letters, thesis, speeches: Improving Oral and Written English: A major skill lacking in most Chinese students is that of "word association", which is a thinking skill that connects words to ideas or concepts; linking one keyword with another but different keyword and topic. Word association allows us to think of more than the specific topic under discussion. The problem most students have in writing, is that they can't think of 'what to write next'. Using word association skills, the problem is not 'what to write', but what to leave out of your writing.
Writing Skills: Speeches and Letters: Everything - Memo, letter, fax, email, speech, Thesis, business report, essay or a novel has 3 basic sections that are the same. Introduction - Body - Conclusion. The Introduction and Conclusion are easy because you do them after you have finished writing the Body of your report / speech etc. That 'BODY' has 'BONES' - the outline that results when using a professional formula to construct the composition. The bones of the speech derives from your ability to apply word association to your topic.
Writing: Facts: Summararies: Reviews: Chinese Students do not know how to summarize what has been written. They know how to give their opinion on what has been written; often given through the lens of political or cultural ideology that is not related to the written work. They do not understand the difference between writing objectively and writing subjectively. Writing about an author's purpose, is not about 'offering your opinions' on the writer, or the correctness or otherwise of what he writes. It is not about your 'opinion'. 'Your opinion' is subjective. Objectively writing about 'the writer's purpose' requires understanding what he/she has actually written.
Descriptive Writing: What you do not see is just as important and relevant as what you see! What you do not say or write, is just as important and relevant as what you do say or write! Do not give your opinion, nor use your imagination. Observe and Describe! What do you think the message of the whole picture is. What story does it tell. This does not mean that you should invent a story! The message is derived from the observation of the evidence. You may speculate or draw an inference from what is evident. Learn to describe what you see - not what you imagine about what you see! Learn to write about what is written - not what you imagine about what is written!
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The Download book does not contain a section on Seder Olam
About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran'.
Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.