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05

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QW 050612 “Operation Vowels: May 6th update”

“Operation Vowels” is going strong. I’ve been taking advantages of a four-day-work-free weekend to invest all of my dispensable time into English learning. Which is what I could do 24/7, sleeping time excluded. See? I’m such a boring person. Anyway, my pronunciation teacher gave me corrective feedback on my production of vowels today. Here I’d like to share one of the points that he mentioned after listening to my speech. Which might be worth sharing because it’s not specific to me, but is commonly found in non-native English speakers according to the teacher.

“Schwa” (an unstressed and toneless neutral vowel) tends to be accompanied with [r] when appearing at the end

Example 1: Japanese speakers tend to add [r] at the end of a word such as “formula” although it should sound like [lə], instead of [lər].
Example 2: Japanese speakers also tend to add [r] at the end of a Japanese word such as “Osaka” although it should sound like [kə], instead of [kər].

Isn’t it funny that we put unnecessary [r] even to a Japanese word? From now on I’ll try to get rid of unnecessary [r] after [ə] appearing at the end.


The teacher also explained the irregularity of vowels as in “-fant-”. Consider how you’d pronounce these two words: “infant” and “fantasy”. You should pronounce “-fant-” in infant as [fənt] whereas you need to pronounce “fant” in fantasy as [fænt(ə)]. If you’re aware of such irregularity, you’ll be able to correct your own pronunciation more actively. So will I.

The teacher gave me other corrective feedback on the areas that I’ve never thought of as my problems. He’s reassured me that I chose the right person to learn pronunciation from, besides the possibility that he’d go unavailable for the next few weeks due to the consistent power outages over there, . Well, overdependence on teachers is one of the last things that I’d wish to find in students I’m with as a teacher, so I’ll keep working on my own until the next session. My English learning life goes on and on.

(50 minutes / 346 words)

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"Infant formula"refers to a manufactured food designed and marketed for feeding to babies and infants under 12 months of age, usually prepared for bottle-feeding or cup-feeding from powder (mixed with water) or liquid (with or without additional water). - Wikipedia

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Aya

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