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Subject: helping someone with English pronunciation
Question: Hello,

I am a musician and college music professor. At the parish at which I attend church, our priest is Nigerian and speaks with a heavy accent, to the point where his English is sometimes unintelligible. This is frustrating for parishioners, as they cannot understand parts of his sermons.

I have offered to help him with his pronunciation of certain English sounds. He has agreed to accept my help.

I have no formal experience with linguistics; however, I grew up in a bi-lingual (German/English) family, and am gifted with communicating with and therefore helping international students. I taught Ear Training for 15+ years, and have an acute ability to recognize what creates sounds. Therefore, I believe that, with God's help, progress can be made.

Can you please give recommendations as to how I could get started on working with our priest on improving his accent when speaking English? For example, some helpful text we could work out of, or ways in which I could help, would be of great help to me.

Thank you very much for your service, and for your kind consideration.

Best wishes,

Francesca Tanksley

Reply: What limited experience I have with Nigerian accents is that the biggest obstacle to
comprehension is the intonation rather than the segmental aspects of the person's
speech, so you might want to focus on that. As a musician, you can perhaps listen with
a critical ear and compare the person's intonation patterns with the way you would say
the same thing; maybe even record your sessions, so he can play back his productions
and compare them with yours.
Reply From: Susan D Fischer      click here to access email
 
Date: 07-Dec-2013
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: helping someone with English pronunciation    James L Fidelholtz     (07-Dec-2013)
  2. Re: helping someone with English pronunciation    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (07-Dec-2013)
  3. Re: helping someone with English pronunciation    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (08-Dec-2013)
  4. Re: helping someone with English pronunciation    Herbert Frederic Stahlke     (08-Dec-2013)
  5. Re: helping someone with English pronunciation    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (09-Dec-2013)

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