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QW 050212 “ey, schwa, and Italian-a”

Here I submit, as I promised yesterday, the report of last night’s pronunciation-training session with my tutor on Skype. Before going to any further on details, let me just expound on how clumsy I was in making a request to the tutor. All I wanted to have him do for me was just: 1) I’d read aloud the article for which he demonstrated a model speech during the previous lesson. 2) He’d listen to it and give me some feedback on the speech. I was kind of vague or too awkward in making a request by asking too many questions in order to make sure he’d be willing to accept my request, which took us longer time than actually needed to my message come across. I should definitely go more straight to the point next time.

The first feedback that the tutor gave me after I read aloud the aforementioned article was compliment. Which is a good strategy to make it easier for a learner to be more open to subsequent corrective feedback. I’m not being cynical or anything here. In fact I had no hesitation to take his word as it literally meant. What made me a bit happy was that he understood what the article says through my oral production without looking at the (written) article. His comment made me realize that I had attained a certain level of intelligibility in reading that specific article orally. Oh, no worries, readers. He didn’t fail to give me “corrective” feedback on vowels, saying “That said…” Yeah, he’s never easy on me in terms of Operation Vowels and I like him as my pronunciation teacher all the more.

1) ey as in "agency"
2) schwa as in "about"
3) Italian-a as in "concept"

Those are the vowels that I need to work on harder. After the lesson, I enlarged the article to secure more space to write tips and phonetic symbols beside each word, printed it out, and practice with it while eating ice cream. (Please don’t ask how come I’d speak English with ice cream in my mouth.) That was between 1. a.m. and 2 a.m. Well, I may need to go on “Operation No More Midnight Ice Cream” on the side.

(40 minutes / 372 words)

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"the symbol ə used for the schwa sound and less widely for a similarly articulated stressed vowel (as in cut)"
from Merriam-Webster com.

homer-simpsom_schwa.jpg
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Aya

Author:Aya
English learner

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