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Singing English

05 May Posted by in Blog | Comments Off on Singing English
Singing English
 

Singing English

Students coming to an English Language Dynamics course for the first time are surprised to find that 20 to 30 minutes of every two hour long session are spent in intensive pronunciation practice using music.  Songs have been chosen that have sounds that are difficult for speakers of Slavic languages.  Some of the songs are traditional American songs, some are British songs, some are American country songs.  All of the songs are sung with the students many times as a pronunciation practice.

Why is this method used at the course?

Pronunciation specialists have said for many years that singing a language is the best practice at every level of proficiency:

Basics and Beginners need to become confident using the sounds of the language, and singing English helps them to relax as they practice.  When singing words with the sounds that are different from one’s native language, the learner can hear and repeat the sounds more clearly.

Intermediate and Advanced speakers have learned the accent of the teachers and other students with whom they learned.  Singing English with native speakers can actually help to change their accent and make their English more easily understood.

Singing English improves the speed and natural flow of a speaker.  Singing a song many times causes a speaker to catch and practice the native stress and intonation of words.

Does this method of pronunciation practice actually work?

Students in the course are surprised by how much this helps in just 10 days.  They tell the teachers that they can hear the difference, and they have more confidence when speaking.  The teachers are surprised at the difference that they can hear from the first day to the end of the course.  And amazingly, the students like the songs and learn all 12 of them.  By graduation day they all sing without looking at the words on the song sheets or the screen.

Is there a special technique?

Yes – the method is “expressed articulation”.  When a phrase in a song is repeated and then sung by the students, they are asked to pronounce the words so clearly that the specialist who teaches the songs can read their lips without hearing the sounds.  Mechanics of English language are different from Ukrainian or Russian.  The difficult sounds have “secret skills” that help the students speak the sounds clearly.

Pronunciation practice using music is a serious work time in the course that is professionally accompanied by Ukrainian born Igor Kudelin from Kiev Academy.

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MGI Teacher Jan Gott