Strengths:

  • One rater commented “Based on language skills alone, this student showed strong pronunciation skills that made her comprehensibility and intelligibility easy to understand.” (This was repeatedly mentioned.) ☺
  • All raters agreed “His pronunciation is quite clear and he’s totally intelligible.” (This also was a major factor in making your speech relatively easy to understand in spite of other errors.) ☺
  • Also, one rater commented, “[This] student does not have a strong Vietnamese accent” ☺
  • Except in terms of the grammar and pronunciation errors noted below, you were generally easy to understand ☺
  • Good pronunciation of “world”!
  • As far as I can tell, your pronunciation of “column” is perfect, though I have to admit I had a little trouble hearing clearly whether the last sound you pronounced was an “m” or “n”!

 

Weaknesses:

Consonants

  • One rater specified your pronunciation of consonants was “good” (Maybe you got a lower score for consonants because you’re not yet reliable in producing final consonants?)

stops

/b/ vs. /f/

  •  /b/ —> /f/ —”bragging” sounded like “fragging”

/b/ vs. /v/

 

fricatives/sibilants

/s/ vs. /z/

  • The “s” in “usage” is pronounced “s,” not “z” (unlike the “s” in the verb “use” which is pronounced “z”).
  • You accidentally pronounced the “s” in “insert” as “z” instead of as (the correct) “s.”

/z/ vs. /ʒ/

  • You tend to pronounce the “z” “zero” as “ʒ”

/z/ vs. /dʒ/

  • /dʒ/ —> /z/ —”object” sounded like “obzect” —  “agent” sounded like “asiant” (mentioned by three raters)

/ʒ/ vs. /dʒ/

/θ/

  • X, although you pronounce “think” correctly in most contexts, in the common phrase “I think,” you consistently say “I sink” — try to break this habit, since because the “I think” phrase is used so frequently (in just your 5-minute lesson, I think you used it twice), this error dramatically affects how proficient your English sounds. . . .FYI: you have the same problem pronouncing the common number “three” also, so try to pay attention to this also. . . .errors in high-frequency vocabulary impact your apparent proficiency so much more than errors in other words!!!
  • You frequently pronounced the phrase “the shortest path” as “the shortest pass” — because “path” was such a frequent word in your presentation, it could really hurt your students’ understanding
  • You accidentally pronounced “thoughts” like “soss” (so you accidentally pronounced “th” as “s” in addition to deleting the final “t”)
  • three” sounded like “tree”
  • This is not a very important error, but FYI: You tend to substitute “d” for “th” (“weather” sounded like “wedder”)
  • This is not very important, but apparently you accidentally mispronounced “th” (maybe pronouncing it as “s”?)
  • Your first pronunciation of “Ethiopia” in isolation sounded like “Eziopia.” Although substituting /z/ for /th/ is definitely something native English speakers will notice, and it will certainly affect their assessment of your English pronunciation proficiency, /z/-for-/th/ substitutions basically never prevent understanding and therefore are considered a less serious error than many other kinds of errors.
  • You replaced /th/ with /r/ in “authoritatively,” so it sounded like “auroritatively” Do you think this is because you accidentally learned this specific word incorrectly or because you generally have trouble separating /th/ vs. /r/?)

 

liquids/nasals

 /l/ vs. /r/

/l/ vs. /n/ vs. /d/

  • Occasionally, you mix up “n” and “l” — I heard “lext pair” instead of “next pair”
  • “learn” sounded like “nearn” (but I know this is a really hard word because it has both “n” and “l”!)
  • You accidentally pronounced “learn” as “nearn” (but this is the only l/n mistake I noticed ☺)
  • “with less coding” sounded like “with less “coling” (once — another time, it was fine)

/ɫ/ vs. /Vw/

/m/ vs. /n/

  • You replaced /m/ with /n/ in “seldomly,” so it sounded like “seldonly” (Do you think this is because you accidentally learned this specific word incorrectly or because you generally have trouble separating /m/ vs. /n/?)

/ŋ/

  • This is a very important word for you to work on, because I think listeners won’t understand your pronunciation of it unless you do. Both when you pronounced “angstrom” in isolation and when you pronounced it in your sentence, I heard “astrom”; I did not hear the “ng” at all. You actually have the same sound as English “ng” in Chinese, though: It’s the last consonant sound in the character “能” (i.e. in pinyin “neng”).

 

/v/ vs. /w/

 

 

Vowels

  • One rater specified your pronunciation of vowels was “excellent” ☺
  • When you pronounce the “ob-” part of “object, it sounds like you’re pronouncing two vowels “o-ob,” not one vowel. I think this is because when your pitch/tone goes down from the higher stressed syllable “ob-” to the lower unstressed syllable “-ject,” it’s not going down smoothly, but instead is pausing partway down in the middle of the “o-“—this pause makes it sound like you’re pronouncing “o” twice, not just once, like you should be. I think if you try to pronounce “ob-” with the same tone used in the word “他” in Chinese, you will easily be able to fix this problem. (Please ask me if you don’t understand what I mean—I’d be happy to explain further!)

/æ/ vs. /ɛ/

/æ/ vs. /ɑ-ɔ/

/e-eɪ/ vs. . . . .

  • Check your pronunciation of “raised”—currently, your “rai” sounds like “wry” (rhyming with “by”), but it should sound like “ray” (rhyming with “say”).
  • “bereavement” sounded like “beravement”
  • “wakes” <—> “weeks”

/i/ vs. /I/

/ɑ-ɔ/ vs. /ʌ/

/o/ vs. /ɑ-ɔ/

“close” vs. “clause”

/ʌ/

/ɝ/ vs. /ɑr/

  • You accidentally pronounced “current” as “carrent” (important, because this is a key technical term in your field) and “career” as “carrier” (including misstressing caREER as CArrier) and  — also “curve” sounded like “carve”
  • The “-ar-” in “margin” should rhyme with “star.” What I heard you say in your sentence is “mer-gin” (with your “mer-” rhyming with “her”).

/ɝ/ vs. /or/

  • check your pronunciation of “purpose” (The second “o” should be pronounced as the relaxed schwa /ə/, not as a clear /o/)

Diphthongs

/ɑɪ/

  • Check your pronunciation of “combine”. . . .the “i” in “combine” should actually be pronounced like the “i” in “ice” or the “ai” in the first character of “台山.”
  • FYI: Americans tend to pronounce “guys” like the first two letters of “got” + “I” (i.e. “go+I” = “goi” — you tend to pronounce it as simply “go” (i.e. without the slide from one vowel to another, a.k.a. without the diphthong — cf. words like “find”)
  • “smile” sounded like “smell” in your “he always smells when they ask a question” (As you might imagine, in an audience consisting of a substantial number of native English speakers, they will hear this mispronunciation very clearly and because what you’re actually saying and what they know you actually mean are soooooooooooooo different and definitely not what you intend to communicate, will be very hard for them to avoid giggling about — make sense?). Therefore, it would be good if you worked hard on learning to pronounce the diphthong /ɑɪ/ vs. the single sound /ɑ/ or /ɛ/ in the “-ile” context (“smile,” “while,” “file” and other words available at http://www.morewords.com/most-common-ends-with/ile/) — make sense? (If you don’t understand the IPA symbols mentioned here, I’d be very happy to explain what I mean if you ask me about it ☺) — this feedback needs to be checked

/ɑʊ/

/ɔɪ/

 

Epenthesis

/n/

  • You accidentally inserted an “n” into the word “disadvantage,” so it sounded like “dis-and-vantage”
  • “ageism” sounded like “agenism”

/r/

  • Are you from northern China? Many northern Chinese, because their Mandarin includes a lot of “r” insertion, accidentally transfer that “r” into English where it’s incorrect, e.g. you pronounced “famous” as “famers” and “method” as “metherd” (mentioned by multiple raters)
  • In many words, you add /r/ where it’s not needed, i.e. here you pronounce “challernges” and in sentence #1 you pronounced “metherd” for “method” and in #2 “famers” for “famous.” I think this is probably a side effect of your (I assume) northeastern Mandarin Chinese accent, since although many native-English-speaking dialects of English outside North America do insert /r/ in certain contexts, their /r/-insertion contexts don’t quite match yours. Because you do very frequently insert /r/ where it’s not required, I’m afraid this error will strongly affect others’ assessment of your English pronunciation proficiency and may also affect their actual understanding of you. Therefore, if I were you, I would prioritize working on this immediately after 1) any word stress errors you know you make and 2) appropriate thought grouping. Make sense?
  • Mostly your stress and pronunciation of this word is good; the only part that’s not quite right is that you tend to add /r/ to “-ious” (so it sounds like “con-tén-chers”) instead of using just the correct reduced vowel /ə/ (i.e. “con-tén-chəs”).
  • I have noticed that you sometimes add /r/ where it’s not needed, i.e. here you pronounced “pattern” as “parttern” and in your sentence for #4 above, you pronounced “method” as “metherd.” I think this is probably a side effect of your (I assume) northeastern Mandarin Chinese accent, since although many native-English-speaking dialects of English outside North America do insert /r/ in certain contexts, their /r/-insertion contexts don’t quite match yours. While listeners may figure out what you mean if you add /r/ to an unstressed syllable (e.g. your “-erd” in “metherd”), they are likely to have a much harder time figuring out your meaning if you add /r/ to a stressed syllable (e.g. your “part” in “parttern”). (Personally, I had to listen to the sentence for #6 several times before I could figure out  you were saying “pattern.”) Therefore, you should probably pay attention to/work on this.

/w/

/y/

  • As you’ll see if you check a dictionary, the two syllables are connected by an invisible /y/.
  • Also, I can hear you need to work on your pronunciation of the word “create”: Your pronunciation of the “e” in “cre-” is not tense enough and also, as you’ll probably be able to see if you check a dictionary, you need to connect the “e” in “cre-” to the “a” in “-ate” with a “y,” i.e. “create” should sound like “cree-yate.”

/ə/

  • You accidentally added an extra syllable to this word, pronouncing it as “mon-a-arch-y” instead of the correct “mon-arch-y”

Final Consonant Deletion

  • You frequently failed to pronounce final consonants (including many of the final-consonant grammar markers of English, therefore making it difficult for your listeners to understand you not only in terms of your pronunciation, but also in terms of your grammar)
  • You sometimes delete final consonants, e.g. your pronunciation of right now” sounded like “rai now” and your pronunciation “you can” sounded like “you ca”
  • You sometimes don’t pronounce ending consonants clearly. For example, “loop stress” sounded like “loo_ stress”
  • Though overall your pronunciation was good, sometimes your word-ending consonants were missing (e.g. “acti_?_”; “agent” sounded like “agen__”) — one rater specifically mentioned you sometimes drop final “-s,” but didn’t make it clear regarding whether this was a grammar-marking “-s” or a final “-s” in some other word

Using overly-frequent pausing as a substitute for final consonants

  • Your thought groups continue to be very short and often broken via apparent pauses in grammatically “illogical” places. (Actually, I think your thought groups sometimesseem short when they really aren’t because you are workingvery hard to avoid connecting your words together. . . i.e., because if youfollow English norms for connecting all the words in a thought group together, thereby making phrases sound like a single very-long word, English speakers often can’t understand you because you tend not to pronounce the final consonant(s) of words and syllables! It is true that breaking up your wordsdoes help English-speaking listeners figure out where the word boundaries are and so helps them figure out the individual words you’re trying to say☺. . . .but it also makes your thought groups sound broken ☹. Therefore, I think the most important thing for you to work on next is pronouncing your final consonants clearly + keeping good thought grouping by making sure your thought grouping matches the grammar and meaning of your sentence — make sense? If not, please ask me about it. . . .it’ssuper-important!!!)
    • Analyze2Imitate: Ending Consonants
    • Use Anki to build new habits each Anki-scheduled review day of pronouncing with their final consonants final-consonant-containing common words, technical terms, and problem words (perhaps identified in your OECT or 180D presentation feedback) by 1) practicing such words’ pronunciation in isolation several times and 2) creating 2 or 3 new sentences containing each problem word (checking afterward your pronunciation and fluency in using that word in context).

 

  • You accidentally pronounced “thoughts” like “soss” (so you accidentally pronounced “th” as “s” in addition to deleting the final “t”)
  • Also, although this isn’t really a problem (after all, British English speakers do the same thing!), I thought I’d let you know that when you pronounced “oscillator” and “denominator,” you didn’t pronounce the final /r/ at the end of the underlined syllables (i.e. you said “oscillato” and “denominato”). Interestingly, when you pronounced “denominator,” however, you did follow American English pronunciation norms because you did pronounce the final /r/ in the word: “denominator.” Some pronunciation teachers would suggest that you try either to be consistent in following British English norms or to be consistent in following American English norms; personally, I don’t think this matters at all unless it matters to you!
  • This is not very important, but FYI: you tend to follow British English norms by deleting final “r,” so your “door” sounded like “dow”
  • As you may know, North American English speakers tend to pronounce /r/ where most other native English speakers around the world (e.g. in the U.K. or Australia) don’t. Therefore, although it’s certainly not wrong, I should let you know that your /r/-less pronunciation of “participatory” is something that could affect how “foreign” Americans tend to feel your accent is, especially if it’s combined with real pronunciation errors. Nevertheless, if I were you, I wouldn’t spend time working on pronouncing /r/ (since it isn’t really an error!) unless your goal is to speak as close to American English as you can. I would instead work only on your real pronunciation errors.

Sound Deletion

  • Notice that the “t” in “fasten” is silent, so the word is actually pronounced “fassen.”
  • You perfectly pronounced the difficult “th” in “width”! However, I’m afraid I couldn’t hear the /d/ in it at all, so please do keep working on it.
  • When you pronounced “blueline” here and when you pronounced the word “cyan” in your definition for “4-color process” above and the word “nine” in #9 below, I couldn’t hear your final “n” at all (though you may have substituted a nasalized vowel)—that is, what I heard is “blue-lie” and “cy-a” and “nigh.” Final consonant deletion is a serious problem in English because, especially in short words, it can prevent listeners from understanding what word you’re saying and also (as we talked about in class), it can cause you to delete grammar endings (e.g. “-s” or “-ed”), making listeners think you don’t know English grammar very well.
  • You accidentally pronounced “demanding” like “demining” (so you accidentally deleted the second “d” in addition to changing the “a” vowel to “i”)

Syllable Deletion

  • You’re right that Americans usually delete the “er” syllable in “veterinary,” but we do pronounce the /r/ (so your pronunciation should sound like “vet-rin-ary,” not “vet-in-ary.”
  • You sometimes simplify the pronunciation of words by deleting a syllable, e.g. you pronounced “curious” as “cure-rus”
  • Be careful not to pronounce “government” as “guv-ment” (i.e. I didn’t hear you say the “-ern-” part of “government”).
  • “counter-culture” sounded like “count-culture” or
  • “CONcentrate” sounded like “constrate” (so you accidentally deleted the unstressed “-cen-” syllable)
  • You accidentally pronounced the 8-syllable word “mul-ti-col-lin-e-ar-it-y” as a 6-syllable word, i.e. as mul-ti-clin-eer-it-y.” (I know this word is very long and complicated, but unfortunately, you can’t delete any of its syllables and still sound correct! ☹)  As you’ll probably be able to see if you check a dictionary, native English speakers pronounce the “e” and “ar” in “-linear-” as two separate syllables by adding an invisible “y” between them—i.e. we actually say “multicol-lin-ee-yar-ity.”
  • This word follows the “-ate” word stress pattern in English and therefore stress occurs two syllables before “-ate,” i.e. you should have stressed it as “dis-pro-pór-tion-ate.” I’m afraid that instead of stressing the syllable “-por,” you accidentally deleted it, pronouncing the word as “dis-próp-tion-ate.” Because English speakers tend to rely strongly on stressed syllables to identify words, this kind of mistake will almost certainly result in all (or at least nearly all) English speakers having no idea what word you’re trying to say! Therefore, it’s really important for you to work on developing the habit of correctly pronouncing such words!
    • Use Anki to build new habits each Anki-scheduled review day of pronouncing problem words/phrases (perhaps identified in your OECT or 180D presentation feedback) by 1) practicing each problem word’s/phrase’s pronunciation in isolation several times and 2) creating 2 or 3 new sentences containing each problem word/phrase (checking afterward your pronunciation and fluency in using that problem word or phrase in context).

Paragoge

  • -ed” is only pronounced as an additional syllable when the consonant immediately before the “-d” is either another “-d” or a “-t”; otherwise, “-ed” is pronounced as just “-d” or just “-t” attached to whatever sounds came previous (so  “fixed” is a 1-syllable word, not a 2-syllable word)
  • You sometimes add syllables to the end of words (e.g. “last” sounded like “last-uh” — “most” sounded like “most-uh” — “third” sounded like “third-uh”)
  • In both your OPI and TEACH exam, you apparently sometimes inserted sounds where you shouldn’t — “If I have-uh many friends”

Substitution

  •  This is a very important word for you to work on, because I am certain listeners won’t understand your pronunciation of it unless you do. Both when you pronounced “bind” in isolation and when you pronounced it in your sentence, I heard “bite.” If you can pronounce “find” clearly in a way people understand, follow the example of “find” to practice the pronunciation of “bind.”
  • The first syllable in “riot” should be pronounced “ɑɪ” and the second one uses the reduced vowel “ə” found in most unstressed syllables in English. Unfortunately, you accidentally pronounced “riot” as “row-owt.”

 

Metathesis

  • FYI: English speakers often simplify the pronunciation of “asked” to “ast” because it’s hard for us also to pronounce all those consonants, one right after the other!–if you decide you do want to work on a “careful” pronunciation of “asked,” work hard not to reverse the order of “s” and “k”–your pronunciation should not sound like “akst”! (Instead, it should sound like “askt”)
  • Your pronunciation of “ask” still sounds like” aks” (FYI: English speakers often simplify the pronunciation of “asked” to “ast” because it’s hard for us also to pronounce all those consonants, one right after the other!)

 

Inadequate Enunciation

  • You sometimes don’t pronounce English sounds clearly, e.g. you had trouble pronouncing some of the complex “consonant clusters” of English (maybe because Mandarin doesn’t include as many complex consonant clusters as English does?)
  • You initially pronounced “one of my father’s slippers” as something like “wove my fathers slept?,” so one of the raters couldn’t figure out your meaning until you clarified it
  • You also didn’t clearly pronounce “heat energy” or “environment”
    • Pay attention to your enunciation when working on the “What I need to remember and work on as regards FLUENCY” exercises above

 

Pronouncing in isolation, vs. in context

  • Perfect both in isolation and in your sentence ☺
  • Your pronunciation of “cohesion” was perfect both in isolation and in your sentence ☺
  • You accidentally deleted the “t” in “consistency” both times you pronounced it in isolation as well as in your sentence.

 

Technical Term Pronunciation

  • Work on your pronunciation of technical terms in your field and other words related to whatever topic you’re teaching/presenting, especially problem words containing l/r (e.g. one problem technical term from your two final presentations was  “file”)
  • X, probably the key thing you should continue to work on is your pronunciation of technical terms and other keywords connected to teaching your topic, e.g. “breadth-first” sounding like “breath-first” — maybe write difficult-to-pronounce technical terms on the board and point to them when you talk about them, so that your students have visual support in interpreting your pronunciation — Make sense?
  • Paying attention to whether other people pronounce English words differently than you do, especially in the case of technical terms in your field, e.g. “genome,” “DNA replication” (sounded like “DN replication” multiple times — and sometimes even  sounded like just “D replication” — this is a big problem because it’s a key term in your field!!!), the noun “synthesis” sounded like the verb “synthesize,” and “enzyme” sounded like “ann-zyme”
  • The term “radix” was new to me, so I had to look up its pronunciation. All the several sources I found indicated the “a” in “radix” is pronounced /eɪ/ (like “ay” in “day”), not /æ/ (like “a” in “cat”), which is how you pronounced it. However, again, this is a pronunciation you should verify with a colleague in your field whose pronunciation you trust.
  • Based on what I’ve heard in all the Top 10 recordings you’ve submitted, I feel that before you submitted your recordings, you didn’t 1) check the pronunciation of and 2) practice correctly pronouncing any (or at least most) of the words/sentences you included. I want to let you know that if you don’t know how to pronounce words correctly in English, the website Forvo is a great place to get reliable English pronunciations that you can download and add to Anki flashcards to provide yourself regular practice of problem words so you can change incorrect pronunciation habits. Make sense?
  • You accidentally misspelled this word (It should be “sponsorship.”) and your pronunciation unfortunately matched your misspelling, so please keep working on it.

 

Unintelligible Words

  • You said something about a “hectic (???)” in OPI Question #3,  but one of the raters couldn’t catch what the second word was that you said (maybe “hectic schedule“?)
  • The raters couldn’t understand some words you were saying, e.g. when you were explaining key terms in your field — “(node?) analysis” and  “thevenine”(?). One rater also mentioned missing a word in your OPI question #3 phrase “by their own _________.”
  • Sometimes your pronunciation of technical terms in your field is still incorrect or difficult to understand, e.g. “ultraviolet light” without clear pronunciation of the final “t” in both words or “resistor” pronounced as “resist.” (FYI: Sometimes listeners’ difficulty in understanding your pronunciation of technical terms may not be due to a problem with your pronunciation, however, but simply to the fact that they either don’t know the technical term you’re using — so they can’t recognize it — or because they’re not expecting to hear that term at that particular point in your presentation. Make sense?) Regardless of the reason listeners misunderstand a technical term’s pronunciation, providing your audience with visual support for their listening, e.g. writing the term on the board or including it in your PowerPoint, can help a LOT — Make sense?  (Though working on your technical term pronunciation, also, is of course a good idea! ☺)
    • Use Forvo, along with the technical term lists available on our course website and the Predicting Phrase Stress in Technical Vocabulary Phrases activity, to check your pronunciation of technical terms in your field. Practice pronouncing these terms (as well as problem words/phrases Monica, your classmates, or you have identified) correctly and fluently, first as isolated words/phrases and then in sentence contexts. (You can also build new grammar/vocabulary habits by repeatedly practicing problem words/phrases, e.g. “COCA-correctable errors,” first as isolated words/phrases and then in sentence contexts)

 

General Comments

  • Multiple raters summarized your OECT basically as follows: “He had a lot to say, and his responses were quite detailed, and included many ideas. [The problem is he has some] grammar errors and consistent pronunciation errors that he still needs to work on improving for better comprehensibility.”
  • FYI: The raters wanted to give you a higher score, but felt they couldn’t in light of the frequency and severity of the phoneme and grammar errors listed above
  • General resources for working on individual sounds include:
    • Practice words containing problem sounds by identifying them via the North American English Pronunciation Highlighter (need to check/improve this feedback to provide direction to students regarding how best to use the pronunciation highlighter! Is this the best order of feedback for these problem sounds?)
    • For one week (or however long you think is necessary), work on building new pronunciation habits by creating 2 or 3 new sentences each day that include correctly pronounced versions of the mispronounced words indicated above (as well as for any mispronounced words mentioned in your 180D presentation feedback)
    • Instead of just listening to the pronunciation of some words on the Internet, you should also try actually to pronounce the words you’re listening to, following reliable model pronunciations’ examples. Improving one’s pronunciation in a second language ≈ training one’s mouth to move differently than it does in one’s native language — Make sense? Just listening to how sounds are pronounced in your second language won’t help you figure out how to move your mouth differently to produce the new sound and certainly won’t help you develop the habit of moving your mouth in that new way, right?

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