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Help with English pronunciation


Kenny同志
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Thank you very much for your comment, Imron. Except the pronounciation of th, what do you think of other things, for example, intonation?

As for the speaking speed, I once mentioned it to my teacher, well, a long time ago, but she said it's quite normal in the UK.

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I have asked a friend of mine, who is Chinese and has much better English than I, to listen to the recording. And here are her comments, for reference only -

"He tries too much to pick up the accent which is not bad on initial listening but that's at the expense of clear diction or pronunciation. I can tell that it's about playing poker n then losing money after a few beers n whiskies.

...

That guy should not slur his way thru'. "

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I'd be interested how much your brain is working while reading this -- is the text difficult enough that your brain has to think about what it means while you're reading? I've no doubt if you sit down and make a little bit of an effort to understand the text, you'd have no problem. But to do so at the same time as reading it while concentrating on your pronunciation, is it an effort? If so, and if you're trying to improve your pronunciation, perhaps you could choose something simpler. From experience, in the past, when I chattered in Chinese it sounded okay, but if I was reading from a text it sounded stilted and unnatural. This days it all sounds awful but that's beside the point....

Anyway, the rhythm and stresses of your reading are at some places unnatural, and where that combines with imperfect pronunciation is where, for me, the biggest difficulties are in understanding your script.

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Did you hear I won at cars the other day?

I never had a die as a gambling man.

No, I'm not. But my brother was a have a get together with a few friends for a game of poker. And as I was at a bit of loose end, I decided to join in.

Were you playing for money were just for fun?

Yes, for cash. Nothing too serious.

We were with ten pounds in the pot and that was the limit. We didn't wanted getting out of hand.

Yes, I heard a story recently about a few blokes getting together round the card table. Apparently it all started off with the best of intentions, but then after having had a few beers or whiskeys or something they started to get carried away and somewhere ended up sticking their life savings and losing their house.

That sounds like a rather extreme example. Are you sure it's not an urban myth?

It must happen every now and again. You know how competitive boys can be, a few whiskeys and a pack of cards can bring out the worst in even the most mild-mannered man and cause him to throw question to the wind.

Did you write this passage yourself? It's a dialogue, right?

The second recording is easier to understand by far, because even though your intonation pattern seems natural to me (first one), it's like gibberish.

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@mayo

Thanks for your feedback, mayo. I appreciate it. I had no problem understanding the text while reading. The fact is that I was trying very hard to imitate the speakers of the conversation, but I spoke so fast and my pronunciation of certain syllabes was so bad that I ended up slurring through the whole of it.

@陳德聰

Thanks for your feedback, 陳德聰. I appreciate your help. I didn't write the passage; it was from a website. And yes, it's a dialogue. I really should slow down when speaking English.

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Okay, yes in that case it sounds that you realise that normal speech (imitate the speakers of the conversation) is different from a slow, formal, precise reading -- but that sometimes you made the wrong choices about which sounds to glide together or leave out completely.

Maybe you could try ignoring the pronunciation sounds and focus on the stresses and rhythm for a while? Also pitch. I found your first sentence hard to understand. It's kind of a question, so I'd expect the first part of the sentence (before "the other day") to be at a higher pitch, signalling to the listener that it's a question.

Also I think "cards" needs to be stressed much more, not least because the "at" is completely lost. When I say that sentence I don't pronounce the "t" in a standard way, but I do nod towards it somehow so that the listener realises there is an "at" in there: I think I pause fractionally before the "card" and then come in with a stronger "c" sound. You've realised that the "t" is not necessary, but haven't realised how to compensate for its absence.

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Okay, yes in that case it sounds that you realise that normal speech (imitate the speakers of the conversation) is different from a slow, formal, precise reading -- but that sometimes you made the wrong choices about which sounds to glide together or leave out completely.

Yes, indeed I have no idea about that.

Maybe you could try ignoring the pronunciation sounds and focus on the stresses and rhythm for a while? Also pitch. I found your first sentence hard to understand. It's kind of a question, so I'd expect the first part of the sentence (before "the other day") to be at a higher pitch, signalling to the listener that it's a question.

Thanks for your suggestion. I will give it a try and see if it helps.

You've realised that the "t" is not necessary, but haven't realised how to compensate for its absence.

Actually no. I didn't realise that. I have a tendency to drop syllables unwittingly. 這只能算蒙了個半對。

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This second recording is much better than the first.

One thing I would suggest for future practice is to try and find monologues or just passages of text, rather than dialogues. To be honest I didn't even realise from the first recording that this was supposed to be a dialogue between two separate people. If you're going to read dialogues and you're going to read it in the same voice, you should put a slightly longer pause at the end of each speaking role.

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