My pronunciation class

may just be the coolest thing ever. It’s affirming all my frustrations with teaching pronunciation to French students English in France. Not that I tried that much. It was something I started with my students last year because I was tired of their not realizing they were skipping their h’s and saying things they didn’t mean to say. I thought, well, it helped me to know that [y] (tu) was different from [u] (tout) so why not at least give them the chance to realize that sheet and shit don’t sound the same? And that it might matter one day which one they say? It also goaded me in general that (as far as I could tell) their teachers had never bothered to point out these distinctions and to impart to their students how important they are.

So I spent three days (scattered throughout the year) on three different things that bothered me in their pronunciation and which I suspected their previous teachers had never explained to them. I made three lists of minimal pairs (one for h, one for th, and one for ee/i–sorry no IPA on here) and made them guess which word the person on their team was saying. But secretly I wondered if there was really any reason to do this, and if it actually helped them, since maybe I could have been the only person in the history of foreign-language learning who learns that way. But no! Anyway I’m not going to quote anything here since that seems questionable and quite possibly boring to everyone but me, but the article I kept writing exclamation points in was from Rodney H. Jones, called “Beyond ‘Listen and Repeat,'” from System, and it makes me feel pretty good about the seemingly random crap I threw at my students last year.

In related news, I AM still kind of resenting La Poste’s loss of my phonetics book. Bitches and hos.

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One thought on “My pronunciation class

  1. Laurel says:

    So sad that you no longer have that book … it is so crucial. I wish I could send you mine, but, um, then I would no longer have it.

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