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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > Pronunciation for Brazilians and Others Who Have Trouble with Word Endings    

Pronunciation for Brazilians and Others Who Have Trouble with Word Endings



teachonthebeach
Brazil

Pronunciation for Brazilians and Others Who Have Trouble with Word Endings
 

I teach Brazilian students and they keep doing weird things with the endings of words! In their native tongue, Brazilian Portuguese (pronounced differently to European Portuguese), they never end a word with a consonant sound, so they feel very uncomfortable trying to do so. Before getting all bogged down in advanced phonetics, I thought I īd ask you guys if any of you have come across this problem or have any ideas for dealing with it. I think it may even be more of an elocution lesson than an English lesson that I have to give. They keep either taking the ending off, or adding to it, e.g. tube becomes tubie, commute becomes commuter; words like teacher, they īre fine with as, to put it in layman’s terms, they finish the word with their mouths open.  It īs almost like a kind of speech impedement, but it īs all of my students. 

8 Oct 2012      



alexcure
Poland

Here, in Italy (as I live in Italy) Iīve noticed a similar problem, many people don īt pronounce the endings well (which is understandable), and generally they "italianize" their English so much that even I can īt pronounce it well when talking with them ;-) as the influence of their strong accent is so powerful, although they don īt consider it a problem, they just pronounce the way they can and no one bothers about correctness... to my big surprise... Itīs even considered īuglyī when you try to sound British... :-( . At the beginning I didnīt like the thorough situation but now after some years have passed I understand that in certain cases nothing can be done about it and that fluency is more important than pronunciation since fluent English speakers can communicate regardless their pronunciation obstacles and no one laughs at them. In order to make headway, however, you can start your lessons with some short pronunciation games (they are numerous in the site data base) to make your students (more!) aware of how they pronounce... some of them will improve quicker ... 

8 Oct 2012     



papadeli
Greece

Improve your pronunciation
Greetings from Greece,

8 Oct 2012     



alex076
Italy

Dearest Alexcure,
I agree that some Italian students have problems with English pronunciation. Although, having travelled far and wide, I have realized that lots of people (from all over the world - even from Poland) share the same difficulties when speaking English. 
This is a problem, I agree with you, but speaking a foreign language is not easy at all - let alone pronouncing words correctly. The most important thing is trying to do your best and make yourself understood - be fluent, as you said.
So, please, do not generalise, because someone might not take it well...
Best wishes,
Alessandra

8 Oct 2012     



ueslteacher
Ukraine

All or at least most foreign students have trouble pronouncing English sounds:) The problems may differ but I think the solutions can be very similar. You should have a phonetic exercise/warm up at the beginning of each class focusing on target vocabulary deviding it into groups with the same problem sound. If you have a small group, you could ask each student to pronounce those words. Give them extra bonus for pronouncing the words correctly. You īll see practice makes perfect. 
You could also have them listen for specific phonemes and match the words they hear to the sounds (phonetic symbols)
Another solution would be to consult a website of an English-speaking speech therapist and see the techniques the specialist uses for the same problems in native speakers.

Sophia

8 Oct 2012     



yanogator
United States

Just to add a minor suggestion here, specifically for Brazilian students, doesn īt the Portuguese word for "good" end in a consonant ("bom", I believe)? I īm sure there are some other examples. Use these as a starting point, to let them know that they already have some experience, and find English words with the same letter at the end. I think there are also names that end in z or s.
 
Bruce

8 Oct 2012     



yanogator
United States

I just had another thought. You could make a game of "what if...?" out of exercises for this. You said that they pronounce "tube" as "tubie", because in Portuguese the final e isn īt silent. You could have them say "tube" the way they do, then ask "What if there were not an e at the end? What might the word sound like?" They will be able to force themselves to say it, and you can then explain about the silent e, and how "tube" is actually pronounced. Since it will be a "What if?" game, they should enjoy learning this, and become better at pronunciation.

Bruce

8 Oct 2012     



alexcure
Poland

Sure, dear Alessandra (alex076) , good that you corrected me, of course I didn īt want to generalise, I might have been not clear enough, I am sorry. 

 There are different pronunciation problems with Polish as we do finish many words with consonants, whereas as it comes to Italian, where the words finish in a vowel, the pronunciation of endings causes more problems ...


 My intention is to focus on fluency but at the same time to try to do as many pronunciation exercises as possible so that the tongue muscle becomes more flexible... 

I know, from my own experience (in Polish, my students used to have, for instance, problems with short and long vowel sounds so I had to practice minimal pairs with them) that numerous short exercises every time we have time for it during a lesson .... work very well and even if the results are not visible at the beginning ... it īs worth doing something with it.... I am sure that teachonthebeach reduces his students ī problem with patience and numerous repetitions... 


8 Oct 2012     



DaVinciColegio
Brazil

I too teach in Brazil and I made a funny joke about it. I tell them to "curta o rabo"  " cut off the tail". They find this funny and actually has helped!!!!

Even though I have given aulas to high level executives, I always took a laid back approach while maintaining professionalism. I had great success in São Paulo doing so. 

I now work with children and they donīt have these vicios as much. 

Good luck! 

17 Oct 2012