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Thread: "L" and "R"

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    Senior Member bigredgoofball's Avatar
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    Default "L" and "R"

    Not to reinforce any stereotypes, but has anyone done a lesson on differentiating "R" and "L" in english pronunciation? Have you needed to? How'd it go? :?:
    "Apparently, this is the price I pay for years of screwing with Super-Science."
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    I have, and it went really well. (I'd say more, but I'm heading out the door. I'll be able to do a post about it come the first of Jan though).

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    Is that L as in Lome or R as in Rondon?

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    Don't know about L and R but i did a lesson on the differences between Dave Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    Oh gawd~ I need to know, what'd you teach on them???

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    Pandilex
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    Who?

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    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    it went along the lines of "dave ruled!!!!! sammy sucked harder than the girls in raponggi" then I played the start to hot for teacher on constant loop for the rest of the lesson
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    sweet~

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    Default Re: "L" and "R"

    Quote Originally Posted by bigredgoofball
    Not to reinforce any stereotypes, but has anyone done a lesson on differentiating "R" and "L" in english pronunciation? Have you needed to? How'd it go? :?:
    Right, I'm back at my desk.

    Before I talk about the class I think it is worth clarifying the difference between pronunciation and accent, and what this means in a Japanese classroom.

    While the difference may be clear to you or I (one is the way you or I may say something, and the other is a general term used to denote a group of people speaking in a similar fashion (as an aside, dialect is a further extension of this - it is an accent with localised grammar structure and vocab)), many of the teachers I have talked to have trouble differentiating between the two. They are embarrassed about the way they speak, and choose not to in public as they feel that their pronunciation is terrible. They are then surprised when I tell them that what I hear isn't poor pronunciation but just a different accent.

    Scots-English, Irish-English, American-English, British-English, African-English, Indian-English, Japanese-English. When we hear someone from any of these (or other countries), speak English, we note that their pronunciation of words may be different to our own, but we still acknowledge and understand that what they are speaking is English.

    This is an important thing to keep in mind. Teachers may see you as a pronunciation guide - which is good - but you should also make sure that the teachers and the pupils do not feel embarrassed by how they pronounce words/specific sounds in English. (If possible, try to get recordings of people speaking English around the world, and let them all listen to it). As a pronunciation model, it is vital that you focus on positive reinforcement as to how they currently speak. They need to be confident in what they are doing up till now, or else they will see attempts to teach specific pronunciations as a way of saying that they way they currently do it is wrong. If they think that way, they will clam up.

    With the above in mind, I have taught a couple of pure pronunciation classes, and found them to be beneficial.

    Here is a quick summary of the class I did for L/R. The class was the final year of Senior High School, and my personal aim for the class was to make sure that the kids were relaxed and happy throughout.

    General greeting. I commence a warm-up activity while the teacher writes about 20-30 words in a grid formation. All the words are L/R (lend/rend, lime/rhyme, etc. Pair words that sound the same, except for the L/R beginning). A letter/number reference is added so the students can easily select a word later on.

    I point out the L/R, grid, and say that while it is a worry for many Japanese that they are having trouble with this specific pronunciation, they shouldn't worry about it too much. I talk about my own experiences speaking Japanese, and how the L/R affects me - which isn't much, even though I too feel self-aware about it. (As an aside: tounge placement for a clear Japanese L/R sound is the same place as you would have it if you were to say 'd'). You can then tell them that L/R pronunciation in English is something that you are sure they feel nervous about but that, like how your own pronunciation of L/R is accepted, so is their pronunciation of it.

    The focus of the lesson is made clear: the way the students currently speak is okay, but if they want to make a stronger sound difference between the L and the R, then this class will help them do so.

    Secrets.

    Tell the students that there are some great secrets that you are about to share with them regarding L/R, but before you show them, have the students say all the L words in the board. Teacher speaks them first, and the students follow (say the words in groups of two, three or four. You can also try to say a whole row and have the class follow you. This can be quite fun if the class is just used to single word repetition. Also, seeing as a whole row spoken aloud can take on a tounge-twister quality, your own inability to say it without making mistakes can relax the class).

    Show the first secret. Tell them that the way to get a perfect L sound will have some of them laughing. The secret is this: smile.

    Make an exaggerated smile. Hopefully some of the class will either titter or smile themselves at what you are doing. Coax them. Get as many of them as you can to smile at you. Tell them that you think they are wonderful, happy students and that they all have great smiles.

    Then, while smiling, get them to speak one of the L rows.

    When you smile, your mouth shape is so drawn out that it is exceptionally difficult to make an R sound (it can be done, but you will need to have a lie down and a cup of tea afterwards). This can be shown as the students will begin to say the words with an L sound.

    When this happened in my class, a few of them started laughing, amazed at what had just happened. Some of the class who had originally not smiled started to smile, as they now understood the benefits of doing so.

    Go through the L rows at speed, and listen to their performance. Two things you are looking for - improved pronunciation, as well as speed of pronunciation. Both should be greatly increased.

    Show how an exaggerated smile isn't necessary. Begin to tone down the smile, and have the class follow suit. Tell them not to worry if they have to exaggerate it; prolonged usage will reduce the level of the smile. The key thing is that they know they have this secret (keep stressing that word - they love to have secrets) in their back pocket, ready to use at any time.

    Play a grid game. How you set this up in the class is up to you - you could start as having any student answering, or you could frame it into a criss-cross, teams, or something similar. The key thing is that you, without pointing to the board, say one of the L words up there. Exaggerate your mouth so they can use that to better tell which word it is. Have them give you the co-ordinates, and then have them pronunce it themselves.

    Start to chain the L words together. Two, then three words at a time. Students give out the grid references, then repeat.

    Do the grid game again, but this time put a piece of paper over your mouth, so all they have to go on is the sound.

    Onto R. Tell them that the secret to the R sound is also in the way you use your mouth. Before you show it though, run through all the R words on the board.

    Say 'oooh'. Get the students to repeat. The shape your mouth makes for the oo sound is the shape you want the students to have when they make an R sound. They should be quite responsive now to making this shape.

    While we don't use this shape per se to make an R sound, it does one important thing: it all but removes the ability to make L sounds.

    Repeat the L steps as above, but this time for R.

    After that you should be able to test the students on pronunciation pair combos using both L and R words, etc.

    As a finish, recap the two secrets - smiling and oooing. Let them know that if they remember these two things, they will never have to worry about the L/R pronunciation ever again.

    ---------------------

    Well, that was rather long. I do apologise.

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    Default Re: "L" and "R"

    Quote Originally Posted by Cornelius
    Well, that was rather long. I do apologise.
    But useful.
    "If you've got [a penis], or access to one, take a good look at it this evening and ask yourself: how can this possibly be the work of a sane God?"

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    Senior Member bigredgoofball's Avatar
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    WOW, Cornelius.... that was detailed and extremely helpful! I had been considering this question myself, and I think the part about differentiating accent and pronunciation is a critical factor. I have something of a gift for mimickry, and can speak just about any accent I've ever heard nearly flawlessly. I think it could be very useful for the students to hear these different accents, and understand that they are all english, and pronounced correctly... and they they aren't wrong in their own accent. I simply want them to be able to avoid the inevitabe sniggering foreigners will engage in when they hear a Japanese person say "Thank you velly much!" or "I rive in Osaka", etc. Because it's a stereotype, I would like to teach my kids how to avoid it, and I believe doing so will elevate their percieved level of skill in the ears of western listeners.

    I think you provide some excellent examples for pronunciation training. I was considering using basic sound reinforcement for the letters; R is pronounced like a dog growling, "RRrrrrrrrrrrrr", and L is pronounced like a singer sings "La-la-la-la-la", accompanied by exaggertaed facial and mouth shaping, as you suggested.

    All in all, I like your suggestions, too. They seem better placed to work, due to their nature, and the "Secret" aspect you mentioned. Good stuff.
    "Apparently, this is the price I pay for years of screwing with Super-Science."
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    Yeah the la-la-la-la should work for the L but Rrrr for the dog won't... Dogs in Japan don't say Rrrrr, they say Wan Wan, Wan Wan.

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    Senior Member bigredgoofball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by socalDave
    Yeah the la-la-la-la should work for the L but Rrrr for the dog won't... Dogs in Japan don't say Rrrrr, they say Wan Wan, Wan Wan.
    Maybe in Anime they do... but anyone who's ever heard one growl in real life knows better. :wink:

    Hmmmm....... does "Wan-Wan" have a double-meaning?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigredgoofball
    Quote Originally Posted by socalDave
    Yeah the la-la-la-la should work for the L but Rrrr for the dog won't... Dogs in Japan don't say Rrrrr, they say Wan Wan, Wan Wan.
    Maybe in Anime they do... but anyone who's ever heard one growl in real life knows better. :wink:

    Hmmmm....... does "Wan-Wan" have a double-meaning?
    Woof-woof? I think not, although I am sure after a few drinks anything could have a double meaning.

    When you get over here, you will find that there is a lot of things that are similar yet different. Sound effects are a more obvious one.

    Depending upon the age-group and your level of moxie, tounge-twisters and songs are also a viable alternative to improving pronunciation...

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    Pandilex
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    They have sounds for everything including stuff that doesn't even have a sound!

    Such as a leaf falling from a tree. Apparently that has a sound. There are more I just don't remember them right now =)

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    In Japan, inanimate objects have smiley faces and walk around in a very kawaii fashion, which is why they make noises.
    "If you've got [a penis], or access to one, take a good look at it this evening and ask yourself: how can this possibly be the work of a sane God?"

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    Senior Member bigredgoofball's Avatar
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    Oh, well, yes, personified kawaii inanimate animate objects would simply have to make noises. Stands to reason, donnit? :wink:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pandilex
    They have sounds for everything including stuff that doesn't even have a sound!

    Such as a leaf falling from a tree. Apparently that has a sound. There are more I just don't remember them right now =)

    But does it have a sound if no one is there to hear it?

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    yes because it still moves the particles in the air which cause the sound wave regardless of something being there to percieve it.
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    Doesnt sound need to be perceiceved to exist, otherwise it is just moving particles......


    ad infinitum.

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