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  1. #1
    sasa21 Guest

    Default something about spoken English

    Nice to meet you guys I'm new here.
    I would like to ask something about oral, I'm a Hong Konger and I have heard some westerners said our spoken English is not good coz we neglect of the correct way to pronounce, like when we say the word "ask" , we just simply ignore the "k", another example, "test", we pronounce it as "tes" stuff like that.
    But people found it strange to emphasis on the "k" and "t" and another other words, and they will think you are kinda showing off to SAY THEM RIGHTLY!
    So I'm not sure how to say them in a natural way...

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    Plenty of British English speakers do the same. In connected speech, it often happens.

  3. #3
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    What is considered "correct" speech is often a matter of perspective.

    The British and the Americans often pronounce words differently, but we manage to understand each other anyhow. :wink:

    Welcome to our forum!


  4. #4
    sasa21 Guest

    Default Thanks guys

    Thank you...
    Coz it do a problem when I communicate with westerners since they kinda don't understand that "Hong Kong style" english, I mean for some words like I mention above, for the way we pronounce by neglecting the last part of the word, but anyway, the only way for me to speak better is to prastice!

  5. #5
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default

    May I offer a correction?

    Say: "It is a problem."

    :)

  6. #6
    sasa21 Guest

    Default Oops!

    Thanks
    actually I wanna say : It do have problem...
    Is there any problem with"It do have problem"?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Oops!

    Quote Originally Posted by sasa21
    Thanks
    actually I wanna say : It do have problem...
    Is there any problem with"It do have problem"?
    You need a singular verb with it.

    Say: "It does have a problem.'
    Or: 'It has a problem."

    A more natural English sentence (AE) would be: "There is a problem with it."

    :)

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    The same is true of BE.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Thanks guys

    Quote Originally Posted by sasa21
    Thank you...
    Coz it do a problem when I communicate with westerners since they kinda don't understand that "Hong Kong style" english, I mean for some words like I mention above, for the way we pronounce by neglecting the last part of the word, but anyway, the only way for me to speak better is to prastice!
    The problem may be other things. At the moment I am teaching a class of Asians, from China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan, after a year teaching students of other nationalities. even though I am an experienced teacher, it still took me a while to get used to their pronunciation and in the first lesson I wasn't able to understand some things they said, though they are fairly high level. There are some fairly obvious things like the Japanese problem with 'l' and 'r', which isn't a problem because it's so well known, but the thing that I had to adjust to was the stress. If a Chinese student says a word in isolation, it can be very difficult to catch because the often stress the word in a different way. however, if they put it into a sentence, it is much easier. My first tip, as a BE speaker, would be to avoid the use of single word answers and utterances where possible and to push important words away from the beginning of what you are saying to let them adjust to what you are saying.

    I don't know how strong your accent is, but I have one Chinese student with a very strong accent (non-native), but he is easy to understand because he never gives short answers and by placing the words in a context he is much easier to understand. With single words, I have had to have assistance from other students.

    The same is true for them trying to understand British speakers, but works the opposite way- if they get a rush of connected speech, where sounds are cut out, added and altered, they can find it very difficult, so I slow down just a tiny bit, which removes some of the features of fast English and makes it easier to understand.

    You don't have to speak slowly and unnaturally, stresing e-ve-ry syllable, but a slight reduction can make things clearer.

    I also use more body language and eye contact than I would with a class of Europeans.

    The key is patience and the willingness to experiment and see what works.

    As a basic rule, as a teacher, i find that speaking in an animated way with lots of gestures and direct contact makes even low level students able to understand a lot more. If you use a word and you think the listener hasn't understodd, try sticking in a synonym or an explanation. Watch the other person carefully and try to work out whether they are following you and, if you feel they are missing things, try to supply them with the bits they don't get before they ask.

    Sensitivity to the listener and being quick on your feet and ready to experiment are the most important things, IMO. Even with beginners, I don't speak slowly and unatrually. i simplify my language and am prepared to repeat and say the same thing many differnt ways or many times, but I see little point in training them in English that is never heard. it works and students appreciate it.

    Always try to do this without the other person being too aware of it. This way they'll feel clever. if you're meeting someone and they haven't come across HK English before, why not tell them a few of its features, so that they are guided that way. It'll be useful for them both in talking to you and anyone else they meet if they are visiting Hong Kong.

    People come to England and hear 'cheers' for 'thank you' being used a lot- if they are told that this is what it means, then they will understand when they hear it and be able to build bonds when they are buying a newspaper, etc.

    Peope will want to understand you, so why not try to help them by telling them what happens when you speak. There's nothing wrong with it and your listener will be better prepared. You also seem aware of some of the features that cause trouble. it may well be easier to explain than to try to speak unnaturally yourself.

    Hope this helps.

    Do remember that with the best wil in the world a strong accent can be hard to understand. I have no idea how strong yours is, but you would probably find me difficult to understand when I'm in the pub with my firends and much easier in the classroom. I speak more than one English according to company. If you can do this, it's another strategy.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: something about spoken English

    PS- I'll say 'I'll tex you' rather than 'text', but when I said this on a forum, some Americans didn't like the idea.

    On another note, many Indian speakers say 'aks' for 'ask'. The key is called 'approximation'- each person moves a little closer to the other in order to communicate.

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