Tips for International Speakers of English (1) 有关英语口语的几点建议(之一)

不是以英语为母语的人在用英语发言时,会有好几百个错误的英语发音,其实这么多的错误仅仅是因为有五、六个在他们母语里没有的音而造成的。

其实,你的英语口语是有很大的可能是可以说的更好的。人们学英语口语的时候,一定是尽自己的能力来将音发得正确,发音是否正确乃是根据自己的耳朵来鉴定的,当然也是受母语的发音习惯的限制。但是你说英语的时候,你发母语的习惯不是把某些英文的发音扣除掉了,就是被变形了。这就是所谓“口音问题”了。

英语是需要花上几年时间的,但是要改口音只需要几个月的时间。不注意口音的发音,就如为了仪表的得体,花了很多功夫打扮了自己的衣着,但是出门的时候却只是穿了一双拖鞋。纠正发音只是一次性的任务。学会了就是学会了,你就是一个完全不一样的人了 - 听自己说的英语就像是母语一样了,这一定会是一个非常有意义的经验。

这个过程是从确认自己的发音到底与标准的英语发音有什么区别开始的。首先,你要能够听到正确的发音。然后,你要用你的嘴、舌头、和颚部的肌肉让自己发出所刚才所听到的声音。因为这些肌肉从来没有组合成这样一个部位来发音,这就像一些体育锻炼一样,需要逐步建立起这些肌肉的力量、合作关系和动作次序。 重复操练这些肌肉,就会带来进步,从而就可以把这些动作融入你通常的讲话中了。

基础的英语教育一般都不包括发音训练,说来这是一个不该疏忽的项目。听录音是可以帮助纠正发音的,但是比较有效的方法是由英语是母语的老师来帮忙,因为这样的老师可以直接向你指出问题的所在。当然,最好的办法是到口语训练中心来接受训练。提高口语的能力就会使交流更加成功,(特别是在犹如电话上等无法用脸部表情或者手势传达意思的时候的交流)。

无论你怎样做,只要你花时间来努力纠正你的发音,即使仅仅使用你已经有的词汇量,也将大大地提高你与他人的交流的能力。

 

英语发音的特征

英语中有些发音是很独特的,对于不是以英语为母语的人来说,要说出这些音来或多或少有一定程度的困难。口语与词汇量、语法不同的地方是,发音训练是不能闭门造车的。你需要寻找一个以英语为母语的人来帮助你的发音,此外,听录音也可以帮助你。

如:清声的TH 和浊声的TH

区别 thank tank

区别 tank sank

区别 than Dan

区别 then Zen

UH 的发音就是 mother, money, lunch, under 里的 o u。

AHH 的发音就是 pack 里的 a, peck 里的 e 不同。

V 的发音就是在 victory 里的,不是发 W 的音,比如像在 wick 里的发音,也不是发 B 的音,比如像 bicker 里的发音。

长音 “E” 和短音 “I” 的区别。 (长音 “O” 就如在 own 里的 o 和在 component 里的第二个 o 那样    发音也是 San Francisco 里的最后一个音节里的 o。

 

记住,长音的元音与其所写的字母是一样发音的:

A 就是 able 里的 a 的发音;

E 就是 equal 里的 e 的发音;

I 就是 ice 里的 i 的发音;

O 就是 open 里的 o 的发音;

U 就是 university 里的 u 的发音。

其他这些字母的发音都是短音)

以上这些就是英文发音中最最典型的声音。如果这些发音不正确,人们马上就注意到了,因为它们是英语的特征,而且被广泛应用。花时间在这些音的发音上,你的英语口语就会有指数曲线那样的上升。


讨论问题:

1. 你在这篇课文中学到了什么新的东西?

2. 你能够做些什么来提升你的英语发音?

3. 你觉得在学英语中,哪些地方是困难的,哪些地方是容易呢?

 



Out of hundreds of English pronunciation mistakes, each international speaker is making only five or six mistakes – the sounds not common to his or her native language – hundreds of times. 

Chances are your English is much better than it may sound. Foreign English speakers are pronouncing the new sounds as correctly as you hear them and as correctly as the habits of your native language allow. The problem is that your native accent is filtering and distorting the sounds of English in accordance with its own patterns.

Learning English takes years of study. However, correcting pronunciation takes only a few months. Neglecting pronunciation is like going to a lot of trouble to dress appropriately, but walking out the door in your slippers. Correcting pronunciation is a one-time-only task. Soon the new habits become the new you -- and it may be a very interesting experience to hear yourself sounding like a native speaker.

The process begins with identifying your particular deviations from standard English. First you need to be able to hear the correct sounds. Then you need to use the muscles of the mouth, tongue and jaw to physically produce the sounds. Since these muscles have not been used in precisely these combinations before, it's very much like doing physical exercise -- building strength and developing coordination and rhythm. As with exercise, repetition then helps establish the improvements and integrate them into your natural speech.

ESL schools generally don't include pronunciation training -- an odd oversight. Audio-tapes can be helpful in pronunciation correction, but it's more effective to arrange assistance with a native speaker who can provide feedback. Of course, the most efficient method is to work with a trained professional. Improving pronunciation makes communication more successful (especially on the telephone).

WHATEVER WAY YOU DO IT, INVESTING TIME AND EFFORT IN CORRECTING PRONUNCIATION WILL SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE YOUR ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE USING THE ENGLISH YOU ALREADY KNOW.

 CHARACTERISTIC SOUNDS OF ENGLISH

There are some sounds that are virtually unique to English, with which speakers from other language groups have varying degrees of difficulty. Unlike grammar and vocabulary-building, pronunciation is not something that can be practiced without assistance. Arrange to work with a native speaker. Audio tapes can also be very useful.


TH (both ‘soft’ and ‘hard’)
, as in:
   thank / distinct from tank
   tank / distinct from sank
   than / distinct from Dan
   then / distinct from Zen
UH, as in mother, money, lunch, under
AHH, as in pack distinct from peck
V, as in victory (not ‘W’ as in wick or ‘B’ as in bicker)
long ‘E’ distinct from short ‘I’ (the difference between beat and bit)
long ‘O’, as in own, component, San Francisco
Reminder: ‘long’ vowels are pronounced exactly the same the letter itself:
   A = as in able
   E = as in equal
   I = as in ice
   O = as in open
   U = as in university
(All other pronunciations of these letters are ‘short.’)

THESE ARE THE TOP MOST TYPICAL SOUNDS OF ENGLISH. IF ANY OF THESE SOUNDS IS INCORRECT, IT IS IMMEDIATELY NOTICED BECAUSE THEY ARE CHARACTERISTIC AND OCCUR SO FREQUENTLY IN ENGLISH. TIME SPENT MASTERING THESE SOUNDS WILL RESULT IN EXPONENTIAL IMPROVEMENT IN YOUR PRONUNCIATION OF ENGLISH.


Discussion Questions:

1.    What is something new that you learned from this lesson?

2.    What can you do to improve your English pronunciation?

3.    What do you find easy or difficult in the study of the English language?

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