Why does my Chinese student add "a" at the end?

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Why does my Chinese student add "a" at the end?

Unread postby barbarainholland » 27 Mar 2004, 08:30

Dear Lucy,

Hi...I am working on pronouncination with a Chinese lady, and I need to be able to train her to hear the 'a' she adds to some verbs....such as "I will walka with you" or "I losta my papers".

Thanks for your advice.
Barbara in Holland :D

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Pronunciation with Chinese students

Unread postby Lucy » 28 Mar 2004, 16:01

Dear Barbara,

Words ending in consonants are rare or non-existent in Chinese. This explains why your student is having difficulty pronouncing them.

Before she can start recognising and pronouncing these sounds correctly, an awareness-raising activity is needed. A useful first step would be to have a discussion with her about the differences between word endings in Chinese and English.

Once she is aware that a difference exists, you can start work on discrimination activities.

You can read out to her pairs of sentences like the following:

I losta my purse -- I losta my purse
I lost my purse -- I losta my purse

I tooka my dog for a walk -- I tooka my dog for a walk
I tooka my dog for a walk -- I took my dog for a walk
I took my dog for a walk -- I took my dog for a walk

For each pair, she says whether they sound the same or different.

Using the same (or similar) phrases, you can ask her (a) how many syllables she can hear and (b) which one sounds Chinese and which one sounds English.

You could also record yourself saying the phrases, if you're not sure of being consistent in class. Colleagues could also be asked to help. This will give your student the chance to hear different voices and accents.

Becoming attuned to the differences can take time, so be patient and be ready to work on it for a few minutes every lesson.

If you'd like some ideas about working on pronunciation, I'll be happy to help.

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