英語發音

English Pronunciation for Chinese Speakers

Tainan, Taiwan台灣 台南市

Overview

From neuro-linguistics, we known that when listening to human language, the brain first processes phonemes. After processing these basic sounds, the brain recognizes words, then grammar, then meaning.  Difficulty with recognizing and producing the phonemes of a language, will lead to problem at all other language levels. Often leaving learners unsure of how to improve. There is a general understanding that one’s accent and intonation will improve over time. However, the majority of adult learners stagnate after just a few months. Improvement requires direct practice.

Because we never study our first language, native speakers are typically unaware of how they produce sounds. When a novel phoneme is heard, we rely on a similar sound in our native language. Using the phonemes of one’s native language to produce the sounds of the second language results in an accent. The overlap often determines how easily an accent will be understood by a native speaker. As a basic measure of understandability, try speaking to Google translate in English, which uses a phonemic approach to language recognition. How well are you understood?

 There is a specific region of the brain, Wernicke’s area, the processes phonemes. Learning a new sound requires a measurable neurological change. Like learning any musical instrument, improvement depends on properly practicing the sounds on a regular basis. Practice will be the focus of these workshops.

Workshops

Phonemes are best represented by the International Phonetic Language or IPA, a standard develop by linguists and used by dictionaries such as the Cambridge and Oxford dictionaries. When you look up a word, the symbols demarcated by the slashes, /  /,  are IPA. These symbols represent sounds as well as the position of the tongue, mouth, and lips. For example, look up the word ‘ox.’ It contains 2 letters but 3 phonemes /ɑːks/.

While we will focus on English pronunciation, IPA is a standard for all human language. The approach can be used to enhance the learning of any second language. Once you understand the fundamentals of phonemes, switching accents, for example, between an American and British English, is fairly easy.

About a third of each class will provide a background on the science of language so we understand the reasons behind what we are doing. This workshops are especially useful for language teachers.

The workshop will have 4-5 sessions each lasting about 2 hours. After the workshop, the class can be extended with English conversation.

Class Level

The principles and methods of this class can be taught to complete beginners. It is far easy to learn proper pronunciation as a beginner. However, because I will explaining underlying concepts in English, you should have good conversational skills. In class, you can help each other understand understand concepts by speaking to each other in Chinese.

This approach is for adult learners. The current workshops are tailored for those who speak Mandarin as a first language.

Cost

The only cost is the rental fee for the room, copying costs, and perhaps a taxi fee for me if it is raining hard. The room fee depends on the place the organizers choose.

What to Bring

1) A small handheld mirror for looking at your mouth. This will help you become aware of how you make sounds.

2) Hand sanitizer. You will be touching your face.

3) Notepad. You will be sitting in chairs without a desk or table.

*Note on masks: We will not be wearing masks. We will sit in a semi-circle so we can clearly see each other’s mouths. Please be aware of this and the current state of government regulations.

Date and Time

to be decided

Assistants

I need one or more native Chinese speakers to organize the class. You need to find a suitable location, contact other students, print materials, etc. Please note your interest in being an assistant on the sign up form below. From past experience, it generally costs about $600 NTD to rent a room for 2 hours.

About Me

I am an internationally published novelist with a degree in performance art and a master’s in neuroscience. I have developed this approach working with ESL students in Vietnam.


I will contact you by email to confirm your reservation.








    I can help organize and translate.
    I am an educator or plan to be.