September 9

Th las lette

People in Andalucía speak very quickly – I’ve even heard stories of students who have gone to Madrid or the north of Spain and people who speak the same language have said they don’t understand and asked if the southerner could speak slower.  A common pronunciation issue in our classes is the dropping of final letters, for example in 3rd person singular in the present tense – an isue which also exists when Andalusians speak Spanish.  Whether it’s related to the speed at which they speak, I don’t know, but my mind wandered today towards the question, “Does the final letter really matter?”

Yesterday I play football an I watch The Simpson.  I ha pizza an chip for dinner an I wen to bed a ten o’clo.

Thinking purely in terms of effective communication, I would say this is comprehensible both written and spoken.  Fair enough, you might smile and say, “Only one chip?” but the message is communicated.  Also, I think that a lot of the errors above would not occur in writing: “play” and “watch” may not have been put in the past tense when writing and perhaps the student would write “chip” as a singular noun, but I think that generally speaking, the rest are pronunciation errors more than anything else.

In my opinion, the question we should also ask is what our students are going to do with their English – for those travelling to foreign countries for short holidays, an imperfect pronunciation of this style would not, I believe, cause any great problems.  Obviously students who are studying for external exams or who need English for a professional purpose would need to be more thoroughly corrected.

What do you think?

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Posted September 9, 2011 by Teresa Bestwick in category My thoughts

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