Teach English in Degan Jiedao - Chongqing

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Phonetics phonologyIn my research article I will present some of the difficulties native korean speakers have with learning and speaking English. I will use phonology to explain this. The information I discuss in this article will come from my own experience as an EFL teacher in south korea, Unit 13 from the 120 hour tefl online course, and the book, ?English Learner Second Edition,? by Michael Swan and Bernard Smith. The korean alphabet, Hangul, has 24 letters: 10 vowels and 14 consonants. Together they represent 40 phonetic sounds: 8 simple vowels,13 diphthongs, and 19 consonants (Swan/Bernard 326). The phonetic alphabet contains 44 sounds, so it is not possible for a korean native to have experience in all of the phonetic sounds. When comparing the two, Hangul does not have 4 vowel sounds and 5 consonant sounds, but does have 4 additional diphthongs. This may explain some of the following difficulties korean speakers have with learning English. Swan and Smith used the phonetic alphabet to give the following problems korean learner?s experience with English. I will supplement their ideas with examples from my own experience. In terms of vowels: 1. /??/ and /??/ are both pronounced as pure /o/. 2. /?/ is assimilated to the korean /?/ (which is not lengthened), so that the vowel in up is pronounced somewhere between /?p/ and /??p/. 3. /æ/ (cat) is often assimilated to /e/. 4. The is no korean equivalent to /??/ (bird), so it is problematic for koreans and is instead pronounced like /??/ or /?/. Spelling issues occur with /??/ because words that contain /??/ have different spellings, for instance: girl, world, turn, her, heard, and tourney. Pronouncing girl and word are difficult for even experienced korean learners. 5. Instead of a long/short vowel distinction, korean uses rising and falling intonation and the pause. This leads to confusion with vowel length distinctions in English, for example that between /?/ (hit) and /i?/ (heat). In terms of consonants: 1. /r/ and /l/ are represented by the same character in korean. For instance g??l will sound more like g??. 2. There is no /v/ sound in korean so it is often pronounced as /b/. I often work with my kids on putting their teeth on their lower lip in order to make the /v/ sound. 3. There is no /f/ sound in korean so it often becomes /p/. My kids often say pinished instead of finished when done completing a task. I also guide my students to put their teeth on their lower lip for the /f/ sound. The difference between /f/ and /v/ being that the latter is a voiced consonant. 4. There is no /z/ sound in korean so it becomes /d?/. I was very confused when my students began talking about d???mbi?s (zombies) and going to the d?u: (zoo). 5. Very common is for korean learners to add an extra vowel after final consonants. Like fish becomes f???. 6. Final consonant /s/ and /z/ are often times not pronounced by korean learners. Like clothes and months present difficulties. korean language has these sounds but this form rather breaks a grammar rule that korean language has. In terms of stress and intonation: korean language does not stress words or word parts. So to a native english speaker a korean student can sound monotone. This is a difficult concept for my students to grasp and when they do add stress it often sounds out of place and exaggerated. On the other hand the rising intonation used in question sentences is the same in korean and English, so students usually have no confusion in this area. Other interesting points outside the realm of phonetics: There is no capitalization in Hangul, so student?s frequently forget to capitalize letters. Another interesting thing about korean learners of English that I have noticed is they do not have a separate word for he and she. So they often confuse calling a he a she and vice versa. Works Cited Swan, Michael and Bernard, Smith. ?Learner English? Second Edition. Cambridge University Press. 2001.