Watch as I analyze the speech of a non-native speaker from China. See the different mispronunciations and get a feel for how to correct them. Video two of a two-part series.
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>> When I was 10, I was suddenly…
Suddenly, I didn’t hear the N. ‘Suddely’ is what I heard. Sudden, sudden, suddenly. Suddenly.
>> When I was 10, I was suddenly confronted…
Again, on the word ‘confronted’, I didn’t hear the N in the con-, con-. I heard ‘cuh’, co-fronted. Confronted, confronted.
>> … with the anguish of moving from only home I had ever known.
In the word ‘only’, the last vowel is the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’, and it sounded too, um, relaxed. Too much like ih: on-lih. EE, only.
>> My whole life, brief as it was…
My whole life, brief as it was. Again, the problem here is the word ‘brief’, which doesn’t have quite the pure ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ vowel. EE, brief.
>> …gracefully touched with the laughter and tears of four generations.
With has an unvoiced TH ending, and you said it here with a voiced. Gracefully touched with. Also, you paused after the word ‘gracefully’. It’s actually describing the word ‘touched’, so there shouldn’t be a pause there. Gracefully touched.
>> When the final day came, I ran…
Ran. You say, ‘ran’, which is exactly how it’s written in IPA, with the N followed. But, as I noted in another blog entry, when it’s followed by an N, M, or NG, the AA vowel has another vowel before the consonant. It’s not a pure ‘aa’, in other words. AAuh, AAuh. It’s that ‘uh’ that I’m talking about. Ran, raa-uh-n. I ran. Ran.
>> When the final day came, I ran to the haven of the small back porch and sat alone.
The word ‘alone’, just like ‘known’, that part needs to be just one syllable. A-lone. And I’m hearing it more as a-lo-win. So, make sure you make that one syllable. Lone, lone. It has the ‘oh’ as in ‘no’ diphthong, and it’s finished by the nn, N consonant sound. But it’s just one syllable. Alone.
Shuddering. I hear ‘shuddery’. We have to make sure there’s that NG sound at the end: ng, ng. Shuddering, shuddering.
>> as tears welled up from my heart.
That sounded really good.
>> Suddenly, I felt a hand rest of my shoulder. I looked up to see my grandfather.
The word ‘grandfather’. Um, I hear you emphasizing the ‘fa’, but it really should be ‘grand’, grandfather. And, perhaps as a result of you emphasizing the ‘fa’ syllable, you’re placing a real small shadow vowel after the word ‘grand’ — grand-uh-father — but it should just be ‘grandfather’, grandfather. And, you may note that I’m not even really saying a D at all. Grannn-father, grandfather.
>> It isn’t easy, is it, Billy?
Now here, you say ‘it isn’t easy’, all on the same pitch pretty much. But, we want to really emphasize here that it isn’t easy, so I would use more inflection when you speak here. It isn’t easy, or something like that where there’s more change in pitch to bring out those words a little bit more, since they are important.
>> He said softly.
He said softly. After the D in the word ‘said’, I heard a shadow vowel again, just like in the word ‘grandfather’. He said-uh, he said-uh, he said-uh softly. You were probably doing that, I’m guessing, to make sure that you’re enunciating your D well. And, in this case, as in many cases, said, said, when it’s followed by another word, you don’t necessarily bring the tongue down to make that sound. Said softly. So, the tongue does need to move up, said, into position for the D, but then just go ahead an move straight into the next word. Said softly. He said softly.
>> …sitting down on the steps beside me.
Now here, down, I heard something more like dauh. Down, so the lips need to come in to make the second part of the ‘ow’ as in ‘now’ diphthong. And then, I think also I was not hearing the N at the end of the word. Down, nn, nn. Sitting down. Sitting down on the steps beside me.
In general, I’m very impressed with your accent. Excellent work!