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Kenny同志

Need some comments on my English pronunciation

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Flickserve
5 hours ago, Kenny同志 said:

 

 

I have been practising speaking every day recently and here are two recordings I made today. How much can you understand?

 


What’s your method when you practice speaking? 
 

You are not really expressing a good rhythm when speaking and that is making it hard to understand. 
 

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Kenny同志

Thanks for the extra information Larry. 🙂

 

@Flickserve

Thanks for your feedback. The method I use is the one adopted by many learners: listen to one sentence at a time, pause, and then repeat. I have really made a lot of efforts to improve my pronounciation over the past few weeks but now it seems I am just hopelessly bad at making out different sounds and imitating people...

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Flickserve

Interesting. I agree pronunciation is very frustrating. 
 

problems stated by yourself:

 

1) making out the different sounds

 

2) Imitation 

 

 

Working by yourself is a bit difficult but not impossible. I think the material you used with the British accent is a good model to copy at first. However, the sentences are spoken a bit too fast for a non-native Chinese speaker and using software to slow it down a bit would make it easier. Also consider shortening the practice to phrases within the sentence.
 

i would recommend the chorus method. 
 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/8213-near-native-foreign-accents/



 

Basically, you need to listen to the sentence or preferably the phrase near enough two hundred times. Then gradually you speak at the same time copying the sentence. That means you go very slowly but with time and practice, you should be able to speed up.  First, the many repetitions of listening get you notice the small differences. Then when you try to imitate at the same time, you notice your speech is slightly different and you can start to self correct. You need to pay close attention to the tones and the length of certain sounds which is similar to learning to sing a song. 
 

From my own experience, it is definitely a method worth trying. It’s best to use it with vocabulary that you are familiar with so that you concentrate and focus only the rhythm,  intonation, length of certain sounds etc. Also the sentences cannot be too long. 
 

I saw one youtuber with excellent Japanese pronunciation. He did roughly the same thing with a special piece of equipment. His microphone also had a ear phone output. When listening to the sentence through the earphones, it allows you to hear your voice more clearly when you shadow the sentence. Then you self correct. After that, there may be some areas where it’s particularly difficult and then you need a native speaker to help you. For most people, I think they cannot do it for long as it is quite boring and slow progress at the beginning. 
 

After reading about this method, I realised why my own mandarin pronunciation wasn’t improving very well - I was practicing a simple sentence only a few times and then moving on. 

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Kenny同志

Many thanks again Flickserve. 

 

I will keep the method you mentioned in mind but I want to find some new materials for practising because from some TV programmes I have watched on youtube, I do have an impression that agrees with 889's: the English I have been trying to copy is not real-life English. 

 

I may use some  films for practising for the time being while looking for short tapes of real-life English. 

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Flickserve
1 hour ago, Kenny同志 said:

the English I have been trying to copy is not real-life English. 

 

It's definitely good material for practicing speaking. I don't see any problem with copying properly spoken English which is clear.

 

 

 

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Kenny同志

Thanks for sharing your view Flickserve. Much appreciated. 🙂

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Kenny同志

Hello again folks,

 

I have been practising with a different method for a week or so and feel that it is effective as with this method I can identify and correct with relative ease many problems that I need to address. I know this recording is probably far from perfect but how do you think of it overall? 

 

Some of you often write long posts to give me detailed feedback and advice for which I am very grateful. But on the other side, I am a bit embarrassed as I come here for help too often and it must have taken you a lot of time listening and analysing my broken English and writing those posts. If this method really works, however, I will be able to work on my own from now on and the next time I come here to post under this thread, it may be one year later when I have conquered spoken English.

oak tree02.mp3

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anonymoose

I think this is better than your previous recordings, and 100% comprehensible to me.

 

Apart from what has already been said (and I particularly agree with 889's first post on March 31), another issue is words that end in a vowel that has an abrupt stop, such as d, t, b (not sure what the technical term is), you are still vocalizing a little bit after the vowel which apart from being incorrect in its own right, probably also adds to the choppy nature of your speech, as it breaks the natural continuity between words.

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Dawei3

One thing to watch is your pace of speech.  As Flickserve mentioned on your previous recording, the pace is a bit fast.  I can understand it, but more pauses between words would increase how easily others can understand your speech.  In general, pauses increase the impact of what you are saying (sophisticated speakers & comedians use pauses much).  

 

I used to teach English to adults as a volunteer.  They mentioned that people have a sense if they speak quickly, others won't notice their accent.  However, the opposite usually happens:  the accent is generally stronger the faster one speaks.  Also, careful well-spoken speech is considered a mark being "learned" in English (pronounced with 2 syllables, learned = learn + ed =  a person who shows much knowledge acquired by study) 

 

It's really good that you are practicing whole sentences.  This is the best way to develop the rhythm of the language. 

 

A non-profit organization that can help you with your pace of speech is the speaking & leadership organization www.toastmasters.org   If you're in China (or almost anywhere else - Toastmasters is in 142 countries), you can use "Find club" on this site to find a club near you.  Most are now on-line using Zoom. 

 

Many clubs in China are English or Bilingual clubs.  In each meeting, someone serves as grammarian and each speech is evaluated as well, so you can get lots of feedback.  Each club is run by volunteers, so the quality of the club is very dependent on their leadership.  You can check out different ones to find the one that suites you the best.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kenny同志

@anonymoose and @Dawei3

 

From your feedback, it seems this method works for me. Thanks. I appreciate it very much. 

 

I have decided to hire a native speaking teacher on Italki to help me correct and improve my pronounciation while still using this method. 🙂

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Flickserve

Your mouth seems to sound a bit dry. 

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Kenny同志

Yes, the recording was made upon my completion of about four hours of practising...

 

By the way, overall, how do you find the recording this time? 

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Flickserve

I found the first two sentences quite difficult to understand. I think partly due to rhythm and partly not having the right stresses in certain parts of the sentence.

 

The rest of the sentences were much better. Perhaps you were tuning closer into the rhythm after speaking more.  

 

 

Sycamore was sometimes said inconsistently and this caught me out - near the end was the best. I feel the "sy-" should be pronounced a bit more loudly.The "-more" was a bit too short in duration in the earlier parts, I couldn't hear the  "-ca" in another.  

 

It might be easier to give more detailed feedback if you limit to two or three sentences. 

 

 

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Kenny同志

Many thanks again for your feedback, Flickserve. Apart from working on my own, I think I will need professional training. 

 

I hope next time I come here to post an update, I will be able to speak English confidently. 

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Kenny同志
1 hour ago, Flickserve said:

It might be easier to give more detailed feedback if you limit to two or three sentences. 

I knew but I cannot come here every few days for free feedback as that would be very unfair to you. I have already booked a lesson on Italki. If it works for me, I may order a package. Wish me luck. :mrgreen:

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Kenny同志

Hi folks,

 

I made two short recordings today.


For the past 117 days, I have had little time for shadowing but I have been speaking English with my girlfriend every day. As my girlfriend is American, I am a little curious to know whether my pronunciation has improved and whether you can detect any American influence in these two recordings.

 

Thanks in advance for your help.  

sep. 01.mp3 sep. 02.mp3

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suMMit

Sounds very good to me. Much better than your earlier posts. Slowing it down was a good idea, your pace here is good. I dont think phonemes are an issue, just sometimes your stress/timing is not just right. Overall youre pron sounds very good to me. I hear zero American, definetely slanting towards brit. Sept 1 sounds a bit better to me than Sept 2. When I listen to sept 2 it sounds to me like youre doing an impression of Ebenezer Scrooge 😃

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Moshen

Hi Kenny,

 

I have no training as an English teacher, but what I hear is two problems: 

 

1)Some of the vowels are not pronounced either in the American or the British way, but in a way that is clearly from a non-native English speaker.  For example, the word "practical," you pronounced as "prekticle."  There were five or six words that I could not understand at all, I think because the vowel sounds were incorrect.

 

2)Your word endings are sometimes a little strange in a way that makes it hard to understand what you're saying.  (It made me think of what native Spanish speakers do often at the beginning of sentences:  they add sounds.  For example, they'll say "espanish" instead of "spanish."  I don't know why!)  For example, in the second recording, you had trouble with the word combination "faced with."  The "d" sounded wrong, as did the "th."  And in the phrase "that may occur," you did not pronounce the "r" in "occur."

 

Are you trying to train yourself to be a radio announcer in English?  If not, I would recommend more conversational English as practice.  These samples don't tell me much about your ability to be understood trying to make a bank transaction with or ask directions from a native English speaker.  The materials you are reading from are not representative of conversational English.

 

My suggestion is to practice shorter sentences first, trying to get the pronunciation right, before you try long radio-announcer type sentences.  Maybe read aloud children's books or stories made up mostly by dialogue?  Yes, I think trying to read children's bedtime stories with the right pronunciation, the right intonation and the right emotional expression would be the homework I would prescribe for you.

 

Try any of the books by Dr. Seuss, for example, like The Cat in the Hat.

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Lu

I just listened back a bit to your earlier recordings in this thread and you sound much better now. Speaking more slowly is really helping. It's not perfect, but you've made notable progress. Your short words sound really good now, you're still stumbling a bit with the long ones.

 

I'm not a native English speaker.

 

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