Wednesday, November 03, 2004

No spitting

Today I had my students doing a quiz. There were some questions in there with words that were especially included for them to practice their pronunciation of the 'th' sound. One of these was rather mean, when I think about it - I have trouble pronouncing it myself, especially if I'm trying to demonstrate it. It's OK when it just comes up in conversation, but try standing up in front of a large class and saying it loudly. Sixth is a nasty little word. You have to be careful not to spit on the students in the front row.

The quiz game helps me to avoid this sort of problem, because they teach themselves. They have fun doing it, too, which is always a bonus.

One exchange I overheard went like this:

"What comes after sixth?"

"Er... hospital?"

"Huh? Oh! Nonononono! Er, again: What comes after... sixTHHHHHHHH?"

(Pause.) "Oh! SevenTHHHHHHHH."

"That's right!"

Happy grins all round.

And there you have it - a perfect little mini-lesson in pronunciation. Perfect because my job was to sit there and not interfere while they taught each other the importance of pronouncing things understandably, and I got to have a little rest. I wish I could figure out how to do that more often.