Teach English in Jinhe Zhen - Huhehaote Shi — Hohhot

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For Japanese speakers trying to learn English, there are many sounds in the English language which are problematic to learn. These sounds include the widely known l and r problem, as well as the th sound, such as in thirsty and thursday, and finally habits learned through Katakana. This essay will go deeper into the problems discussed. It is widely known, almost stereotypically so that the l and r sound are a big problem for Japanese people. This is because there is no l sound in the Japanese alphabet. This is less of a problem for young language learners, as they still have phoneme neuroplasticity so it’s easier for them to hear and understand the difference. However, older language learners will have lost phonemic neuroplasticity, so it is a much bigger challenge to even hear the difference in the sounds, let alone produce the sounds. As such, given it’s actually difficult to even hear the difference in sounds it is difficult to produce the sounds. So careful presentation on the sounds a clear emphasis on how to make the sounds is required when teaching them. Another problem is the th sound, where instead of th, Japanese students try to pronounce it as ti, or just t. Perhaps this is much easier to teach to students than the l and r sounds though. This requires less careful teaching than the l and r sounds and young students especially can pick up the pronunciation through practicing the days of the week. Older learners though have problems for similar reasons to the l and r sound. However, the sound difference is much more obvious than the difference between l and r so older students too can pick up on the differences sooner. Finally, the habits students pick up through overexposure to Katakana and the rules of Katakana. As Katakana is taught as being the ‘International alphabet’, with many young students assuming every katakana word is English, they can develop a false understanding that English words are spoken like Katakana. An important rule in Katakana, which leads to problems is that consonants are followed by a vowel. For example, instead of toast, which finishes on a t sound, students may say toasto, so that the consonant on the end is followed by a vowel. Also because toasto is the katakana word for toast so they are used to saying it as toasto. It is important to remember this and the role of Katakana in their language when teaching Japanese students. That being said, there are some people who argue against over correcting students on Katakana pronunciation, seeing Katakana pronunciation as a regional accent, and not trying to enforce one specific countries pronunciation of English as the only correct way to pronounce it. So in conclusion, it is important to be aware of how the Japanese language works, as the language is what leads to many pronunciation problems. These problems are caused by various things, such as the absence of certain phonemes in Japanese or habits learned from Katakana.