- Guest post supplied by Angelo Castelda
Learning English and overall language improvement are essential skills one must invest in these days. However, for native Chinese speakers, learning a second language–particularly English–is quite a hefty task as it requires dedication and commitment. It can exceptionally be difficult when pronunciation comes into play.
Throughout the years, there has been increasing competition among Chinese speakers that transformed English from an optional field into a required course. This is because of the fact that the world is continuously evolving, and learning English as a second language is essential if you want to keep up. But despite the growing demand to learn English these days, teaching setups and methods remain the same. Due to a large number of students wanting to learn English, educators find it difficult to focus on each student’s weaknesses when it comes to mastering the language. Simply put, local educators do not have enough resources to further hone and pay attention to each student’s progress individually.
Fortunately, there is also a rise in the number of online English tutors, now that many students are eager to learn the English language. But first, let us try to address the most common problems Chinese speakers encounter when learning ESL.
Difference In Intonation
Although knowing your vocabulary and correcting your grammar are essential in learning the English language, the ability to express your thoughts through intonation still also lies at the very core of each language. It is imperative for Chinese speakers to begin practicing verbal communication and intonation as early as possible, considering that both the Chinese and English languages have very little in common.
The Mandarin alphabet and intonation, among other things, are very different from that of the English alphabet and language. Therefore, a dynamic combination of teaching methods is essential, so Chinese students are not restricted from improving their overall mastery and fluency of the English language.
Difficulty in Pronunciation
Many English learners in Asia struggle with pronunciation, but it is most especially challenging for Chinese speakers. China’s distinct language is the number one reason why many Chinese students find it hard to differentiate which pronunciation is correct and which one is not. Some of the most common pronunciation problems are the following:
- Word and sentence stress – This pertains to a speaker’s flow of speech and sounding rhythm. The Mandarin language is known for its continuous flow of speech, so Chinese students trying to learn English may sound a bit choppy and robotic as opposed to wording sounding of highs and lows.
- Letter confusion – This is a common problem not only among Chinese speakers but also other native Asian speakers. It happens when a speaker incorrectly replaces one letter with another, such as mistaking words with the /l/ sound with /r/ /b/ or /p/.
- Letter Omission – As for this one, speakers tend to leave out letters or mistake them for another word, such as “action” into “ashen” or “healthy” into “health”
Chinglish happens when the first language of a native speaker interferes with the second language, and it happens most of the time in China. Students tend to mix up both the Chinese and English languages when delivering a normal speech. Basically, it occurs when a speaker combines both languages’ words, logic, or ideas in place of another word, logic, or idea that they cannot say in Chinese or English. It’s a common problem that often leads to a language barrier, so it’s also one thing that an online English tutor should focus on these days.
So there you have it, some of the most common problems Chinese speakers encounter when learning ESL. If you’re an English tutor, make sure you take note of these to further improve your students’ English speaking skills.
Angelo Castelda is a freelance writer from Asia. Besides writing, he also spends his time traveling and learning about diverse cultures, which opened his heart more to learning and imparting knowledge about ESL.