9 Essential English Pronunciation in the Vietnamese Context

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9 Essential English Pronunciation in the Vietnamese Context
Tran Thi Lan, PhD. Senior Lecturer, Hanoi University of Foreign Studies

Of the four language skills speaking is always seen as the most challenging by Vietnamese students. One reason for this is neglecting pronunciation at school at all levels.

On tutoring IELTS candidates the instructor constantly asks herself whether it is possible for a “false learner” to acquire English pronunciation in a short amount of time. If so, what are the essential items to learn and what is the best way to learn them?

English pronunciation books on the market are plentiful. So are websites. Yet these materials are written predominantly by English native speakers for general learners. None are exclusively for the Vietnamese with the focus on the special difficulties that Vietnamese learners have.

The major objective of this paper is to define a core list of English pronunciation items for Vietnamese students to acquire. Methods to deal with the problems or materials for practice can be found in “English Pronunciation for All” (Trần Thị Lan Ngữ âm tiếng Anh cho mọi người – Sách biên soạn riêng dành cho người Việt) due to be published this summer by the publishing house “Văn hoá Thông tin”. Contrastive analysis, articulation, and minimal pairs, are common and effective tools for the teacher to use.

The findings:
Below is a list of core items to teach (the first 7 are believed to be most essential):

1. The English alphabet. A focus should put be on the following letters which students confuse the sounds of: R, I, E, G , J, H, , K, Q, W, X, Y 2. Familiarisation with the English phonemic chart. Essential as it helps students to be able to know the pronunciation of words from dictionaries. Teachers should encourage students to use monolingual dictionaries made by reputable publishers. 3. Voiced and unvoiced sounds. Students should be taught this to help with the pronunciation of ‘s’ and ‘ed’ endings. 4....
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