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Thread: Schwa

  1. #1
    Topgunn779 is offline Newbie
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    Schwa

    I am trying to help a native Chinese speaker improve their English. They add the schwa sound between many words where it should not be. Example "I like /schwa/ you" Can you suggest an exercise that will lessen this. I have suggested linking and breaking up the sentence into smaller pieces and working on it that way.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    J&K Tutoring is offline Member
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    Re: Schwa

    That's a tough one. Your student knows that native Chinese speakers often drop final consonants and is overcompensating. In my experience, some get it and some just don't.

    Last week, at the kindergarten where I teach, we were working on the word 'orange'. The kids had been tought to say, "Orange-eh". In each class (more than 150 kids total), I went down the row to each one, getting them to say, "Orange". For most, it took two to three tries to get it. A few heard others (and me) do it and got it right the first time, but some just didn't seem to get it at all.

    A big part of teaching English in China is getting students to 'unlearn' things they have picked up from their Chinese English teachers- teachers who have earned high marks on (written) tests at university...

    Rotsa Ruck!

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Schwa

    How aware of this are they? Have you recorded you and them saying the same thing to show them. Showing the waveform of the sound file's a good way of showing extra syllables.

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Schwa

    I agree with J&K's 'over-compensating' idea; and Tdol's question is apposite. I would ask the student whether they perceive a difference between , to use your example, /aɪ laɪkǝ ju:/ and the meaningless /aɪ laɪ kju:/ ('I lie queue").

    b

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