Do you want to be TEFL or TESOL-certified and teach in Wǔdadao Jiedao [Tiyuguan Jiedao]? Are you interested in teaching English in Tianjin? Check out ITTT’s online and in-class courses, Become certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language and start teaching English ONLINE or abroad! ITTT offers a wide variety of Online TEFL Courses and a great number of opportunities for English Teachers and for Teachers of English as a Second Language.
Pronunciation problems in ChinaThe official language of China is Mandarin, also known as Modern Standard chinese. Mandarin and english come from two different language families (Sino-Tibetan and Indo-European). A chinese student who is learning the english language may find especially difficult the pronunciation of the language. Many factors play a role in this difficulty including the differences in phonetical structures, tones, grammar and syntax, and sociological issues involving linguistics. Vowel contrasts in Mandarin are fewer than english which may pose articulation problems in differentiation of words such as ?bean? and ?bin?. Consonant use varies greatly. While some consonants are silent in english, they may not be in Mandarin and vice versa. Mandarin rarely uses consonant clusters so pronunciation of words such as ?throw? or ?spell? may create troubles for students. Stress on syllables may also pose problems for the chinese english speaker. Reduced stress is not as common in Mandarin which can lead the student to speak in a monotone manner or place too much stress on words that are reduced such as ?the? or ?of?. Mandarin is primarily spoken in monosyllables. Due to this, the chinese english student may speak in a staccato fashion. The chinese language is a tonal language consisting of four basic tones. This means that one word, when spoken in four different ways using different tones, can have four different meanings. For example, ?ma? can mean mother, horse, flax, scold or curse depending on how it is spoken and the tonal adjustment made to the word. Mandarin is an uncomplicated language and lacks use of prefixes or suffixes. Articles do not exist and there are no gender differentiations. Verbs are not changed and plurals do not exist. Communication styles vary greatly in the two languages posing a social aspect to linguistics. Eastern speakers are more indirect, implicit, non-verbal, formal, goal oriented, emotionally controlled, and self-effacing. Western speakers are more direct, explicit, verbal, informal, spontaneous, emotionally expressing, self-promoting and egocentric. Easterners tend to smile more but not necessarily the why a Westerner would think as it may be communicating embarrassment. chinese culture also tends to avoid contact as that is a sign of respect and have a different sense of personal space than Westerners. Another example is when chinese use the word ?yes? they mean understanding not necessarily agreement. Formal rules of communication may also depend on the status between the speaker and the listener. In summary, there are some key aspects to remember when teaching a chinese student the english language. Making allowances and finding creative ways to help the student will play a key role in your success as a teacher. Remembering that the student will have difficulty with the differences in phonetical structures, tones, grammar and syntax, and sociological issues involving linguistics will not only prepare the teacher for challenges to come, but also assist in preparing and helping the teacher to be forewarned and forearmed in these particular areas so adjustments and lesson plans can be on point. Many teachers who have succeeded in this field will tell you they have researched extensively and preparedness is crucial to success. The student will also appreciate the teachers understanding of language difficulties as they arise. Fat, M.W.F. (2004, August). Problems faced by chinese learners in L2 english learning and pedagogic recommendations from an inter-cultural communication perspective. Hones, D.F. and Cha, C.S. (1999). Educating new Americans. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. Mandarin vs. Cantonese: The issue at hand. (n.d.). http://www. chinese-lessons.com/Cantonese/difficulty.htm Roseberry-McKibbon, C. (2002). Multicultural students with special language needs: Practical strategies for assessment and intervention. Oceanside, CA: Academic Communications Associates, Inc. Swan, M. and Smith, B. (1987). Learner english: A teacher?s guide to interference and other problems. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.