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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Brazilian Portuguese student pronunciation problem

    Hi, I am a newish ESL teacher and I have a Brazilian Portuguese speaker with a problem I'm not sure how to solve. She is in the US 10 years and is originally from Sao Paulo.She often leaves the ends off 2 and 3 syllable words, e.g. part- for party; mov- for movie, document- for documentary.
    It causes a conversation to come to a stop. I have researched online and in several books and have only found reference to "elision of unstressed vowels at the ends of words". But, no advice on how to teach my student to be aware of this. I don't think she knows she is NOT saying the syllable.
    Is this a rhythm problem? Counting syllables problem? It is not her hearing--her husband (also from Brazil) does the same thing.
    Any advice on how to tackle this would be very much appreciated.
    Thank you in advance!
    CplK

  2. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Brazilian Portuguese student pronunciation problem

    It is hard for people to hear things that are not significant in their native languages. I have had such an experience when attempting to learn a little Mandarin (very hard to hear tones), and seen it in other learners; for example native speakers of Spanish often do not hear the glottal stops that occur in AmE, because the glottal stop does not exist in Spanish.

    Your problem is compounded by the fact that your student has been in America so long. I think the only solution is one-on-one teaching. You have to go right back to the alphabet and the sound system, and insist that every letter be pronounced.

    I believe that in some dialects of South American Spanish syllables are often swallowed in a similar way, and we have some teachers here who are native speakers of Spanish. Maybe they can help.

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    #3

    Re: Brazilian Portuguese student pronunciation problem

    Have you tried her with breaking words down into syllables to see whether she's hearing them? Can you record both of you saying these words to show the difference?

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Brazilian Portuguese student pronunciation problem

    I'd just make her practice in front of me and correct her when she makes a mistake.

    You could also toss her a fish whenever she gets one right.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  4. probus's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Brazilian Portuguese student pronunciation problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    You could also toss her a fish whenever she gets one right.
    I'm starting to wish I hadn't voted against the dislike button. Do we not respect our students? Or what was that, man?

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Brazilian Portuguese student pronunciation problem

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    I'm starting to wish I hadn't voted against the dislike button. Do we not respect our students? Or what was that, man?
    I mean, you could reward her.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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