Teach English in Duandian Zhen - Ezhou Shi

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Having been living and working in China for over twelve years now and lived in several major cities, I have noticed common problems for many of the English speaking Chinese I have come across that have not spent time abroad. Some of these problems come from the way they were taught English at school, usually by teachers who spoke little English themselves. The English classes concentrated on reading and writing and spent little time on pronunciation so these students could read or write English at a reasonably high level, however, both speaking and listening skills were rather poor. When speaking English with these students I had to speak just a little slower than normal and speak simply. I also noticed that it is difficult for if another foreigner with a different accent spoke English to them they were not able to understand very well. In Southern China it is interesting to note that the Chinese in this area have difficulty pronouncing many Mandarin words. In Southern China many Chinese primarily speak Cantonese, while Mandarin, the official Chinese language, is often their second or even third language as many Chinese also speak a local dialect, of which there are many. Foreign students wanting to learn Mandarin, who are aware of this fact, prefer to have teachers originating from Northern China. Many newer words introduced into the Chinese language are transliterations of the English word, that is the sounds of the English word are replaced with Chinese sounds, for example “sofa” is transliterated to “shā fā”. This method approximates the English word without the Chinese speaker having to use any non Chinese sounds. While there are some similar sounds shared by both Chinese and English, both languages have sounds that are not in the other language. For the Chinese, the /r/ sound is a problem and is usually pronounced as /l/ instead. This is popularly known with “fried rice” being said as “flied lice”. Another sound the Chinese seem to have a problem with is the /v/ sound, which does not exist in the Chinese language. In Chinese languages words rarely end in a consonant and so they tend to add an extra sound to the end of the English word or leave off the final consonant sound. A common example of this is the word “massage” where the Chinese pronounce /e/ at the end. Another sound /ð/ that does not exist in Chinese and is very difficult for them to pronounce, as they have difficulty in putting their tongue between their teeth to make the sound. The /ð/ sound is often replaced with a /d/ sound, so the word “brother” is pronounced as “broder”. The short sound /ɪ/ in English is often replaced with the long sound /i:/ by Chinese speakers, so the word “bin” is pronounced like “been”. These are just some of the problems that Chinese face when learning English, there are plenty more issues with pronunciation alone before they have to tackle other issues such as word order, gender specific terms and the changes in words introduced by tenses.