Teach English in Qiting Zhen - Huanggang Shi

Do you want to be TEFL or TESOL-certified and teach in Qiting Zhen? Are you interested in teaching English in Huanggang Shi? Check out ITTT’s online and in-class courses, Become certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language and start teaching English ONLINE or abroad! ITTT offers a wide variety of Online TEFL Courses and a great number of opportunities for English Teachers and for Teachers of English as a Second Language.

Chinese learners of English will face a variety of issues when learning English. According to an article on TEFL academy titled “5 Problems For Chinese Speakers of English,” five main issues are the alphabet, rhythm, pronunciation, word order, and plurals. Here, I would like to explore the issues of pronunciation, rhythm, and stress more in depth based on brief research and my own experiences speaking with Chinese Speakers of English. One problem that is true for many learners of English, is that English contains phonemes that are not present in the learner’s language. This may make “similar” sounds difficult to distinguish both when listening and speaking. And even if the sound is distinguishable to the learner, it may be difficult to remember to use when speaking and the phoneme is instead substituted for a more familiar sound. As TEFL points out, in Chinese there “are no sounds which directly correspond to the English sounds /l/ and /r/.” According to an article in ORTESOL Journal titled “Pronunciation problems of Chinese Learners of English” by Feifei Han, another issue of pronunciation is that “While English has 15 vowels, Chinese has only five.” The article points out that different words may end up being pronounced roughly the same, such as “ship” and “sheep” both being pronounced like “sheep.” As for my personal take on this problem, I think it is important to address. Not only will it allow for clearer communication between the learner and other speakers of English, but many stereotypes about Chinese people in the US are based on pronunciation issues such as this. Having lessons or sections of lessons dedicated to pronunciation is an important part of addressing this issue. Diagrams of mouths showing how similar sounds are made, using your own mouth to demonstrate, and activities that stress new or similar sounds are all ways to approach teaching pronunciation. The second issue that for Chinese speakers of English that I will be looking further into is rhythm and stress. I’ve decided to pair these issues together in my discussion because they are closely related. TEFL Academy’s article says that “English is a stress-timed language.” This means a syllable that is stressed is drawn out for a longer amount of time that an unstressed syllable. However, Chinese is a syllable-timed language where, according to Han’s article, “each syllable receives an equal amount of time for production.” This first issue this brings up is that a Chinese speaker of English may devote the same amount of time to each syllable which will sound odd to native English speakers. Additionally, not adding the required length to a stressed syllable in English can occasionally change the meaning of that word and is therefore also a pronunciation issue. In some words, changing stress can change the word from a noun to a verb, whereas in others a change in stress can change the word from a verb or noun to an adjective. An example of the first category is the word “addict.” "Addict" can be used as a noun as in “he is an addict” or as a verb as in “that will addict you.” When the first syllable is stressed “addict” is a noun and when the second syllable is stressed “addict” is a verb. Ignoring teaching rhythm and stress can also lead to communication problems. I have found personally that I can best hear rhythm and stress when I hum a sentence. However, diagrams may be more useful for visualizing what parts of words and sentences are stressed for learners. While there are several potential problem areas for Chinese speakers of English, I have chosen here to discuss pronunciation, rhythm, and stress. I made this choice in part because the TEFL course warned against ignoring these issues and I wanted to further explore how they might play out in the classroom setting I will most likely be located in- one with Chinese learners of English.