Sunday, June 1, 2014

Toughness of Mouth's Usages and Phonetic Symbols;

This post is about how hard to pronounce English for Japanese, whereas my "Hepburn system writing" post was about the hardness of writing;  (sorry for the long writing today)
      Linking this post to Our World Tuesday;

The other day, my husband abruptly asked me what "Fast Food" means. He just knew the sound of the word, not spelling. I instantly understood his confusion, " fast/first".  
Japanese doesn't require us to use the tongue and lips much as it's a rather monotonous language compared to English. There are many Toughness of lips and Tongue Usages for us when we speak English. Let me introduce the major FOUR hard ones for us.

*Number 1*
We don't have sound which requires us to roll up our tongue into our mouth, so "R" sound is really tough for us.  light/right  fast/first  heart/hur  These several two words will be pronounced the same as we are not used to say the sound of underlined part. 

*Number 2*
Almost all the students hesitate to imitate me pronouncing "th" sounds. My explaining them to put their tongue toward upper teeth and no need to stick out almost never work. So these several words on the left side will be sounded  like on the right side.    thinks(h)ink  three→su-ree  thank→sunk  this→di-su

*Number 3*
"f" and"v"  sound which requires us to put our upper teeth lightly on our lower lip will not be pronounced correctly.  So berry/very will be pronounced the same way here again.  The first 'F' sound of these words five, free, will be said putting the lips forward like the underlined part of  'what' sound. When I teach alphabet, "v" students pronounce it like "bu-i", like the word "buoy"

*Number 4*
It seems that we are not used to put our mouth side-way. These left side words sounds like right side word.  sea→she  sick→chic 

*Phonetic Symbols*
Pronunciation is always the hardest part when teach. In reality we don't teach Phonetic Symbols much. But if students can't read these symbols, they can't read new words in the textbook. (especially, high-school students have trouble) 

This one is from high-school English textbook.  At the bottom of the book, there are lists of new words and they need to read the symbols to know the sounds of them. I can easily guess you won't need these unless you are language specialist p;)  
Thank you so much for reading my rambling about the toughness Japanese students have to face when learning English. I must add that after several years teaching, I thought that each language has its characteristics and  I shouldn't expect much(*^_^*)

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